IFP calls on chiefs to stand against poachers

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Some of the wild animals killed by illegal hunters in northern KZN.
Some of the wild animals killed by illegal hunters in northern KZN.

The IFP has called on traditional leaders in northern KwaZulu-Natal to stand up against illegal hunters following a spike in the killings of wildlife in Nkandla and other surrounding areas.

IFP provincial community safety spokesperson Blessed Gwala said the party had noticed a sharp increase in illegal hunting where poachers hunted wild animals for food, using dogs.

“The IFP is firmly against the unlawful and unsupervised hunting of wild animals, as this can also lead to the extinction of endangered species. “It is alleged that those behind the wildlife killing operation are intimidating Ezemvelo Wildlife guards.”
Blessed Gwala

Previously the hunting of wild animals in rural areas was not a threat to nature conservation as it was a seasonal activity. “However, this senseless hunting will lead to permanent damage in the wildlife conservation cycle. We call upon for the law to intervene, and to bring the perpetrators to book regardless of their status in the community,” Gwala said.

“It is alleged that those behind the wildlife killing operation are intimidating Ezemvelo Wildlife guards.”
IFP provincial community safety spokesperson Blessed Gwala

Gwala, who said some of the hunting was taking place in areas under Ezemvelo Wildlife, said the poachers employed sophisticated methods in their hunting. He said the poachers also breed particular types of dogs to chase and bring down their quarry.

Gwala said the hunters were not deterred by KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife’s rangers. “It is alleged that those behind the wildlife killing operation are intimidating Ezemvelo Wildlife guards,” Gwala said.

While Ezemvelo conceded that its guards were at times intimidated by the illegal hunters, the conservation entity maintained that its rangers were up to the task.

READ | Rangers in KZN ‘no match for poachers’ after seven white rhino carcasses found in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

“Our staff will continue to enforce the law without fear or favour. Intimidation of law enforcement personnel is normal, but it does not result in Ezemvelo staff failing to implement the applicable laws when they are broken,” KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife spokesperson, Musa Mntambo, said.

Mntambo said Illegal hunting, which increased during the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in March, was a problem across the province.

“It is true that there has been an increase of illegal hunting inside the protected areas as well as outside the protected areas. The increase is not only in public game reserves as a number of private game reserves have also experienced some form of hunting inside their establishments.”

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