Preservation of our natural heritage must be prioritised

2017-03-15 06:05

THE brutal onslaught on our natural heritage seems to know no bounds with the latest attack, by at least five heavily armed poachers, on the Thula Thula rhino rehabilitation facility — one of the most shocking and cowardly to date.

Our thoughts go out to the dedicated people, many of whom are volunteers, who not only faced mortal danger themselves, but had to witness two young rhino being decimated in front of their eyes.

We understand these magnificent animals were about 18 months old and were about to be returned to the wild. The question must be asked — how did the poachers get information that the juvenile horns were now worth minimal risk?

While our heavy hearts try and process this horrific attack, the national minister is considering opening a door to trade in rhino horn and the national stats on rhino losses seem to be a state secret.

We do know that KZN lost 162 animals to poaching in 2016. Meanwhile, the premier’s promise of a task team has been another non-starter.

The only ray of hope in this whole sad story is the arrest of two of the alleged Thula Thula perpetrators [recently]. The SAPS must be commended for this. Both are known poachers and were found in possession of weapons and ammunition. They will appear in court on Friday and the DA will be there to demand that the court system shows no mercy by denying bail.

The fight for the preservation of our natural heritage must be prioritised.

ANN MCDONNELL,
MPL DA KZN spokesperson on Economic Development, Tourism and
Environmental Affairs

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