WHITE RIVER – More than a third of the world’s rhino poaching cases happen in Mpumalanga. Although we are at risk to lose countless individuals within the species due to poaching, rhino as a species will not go extinct.
These were the powerful words of Gen Maj (ret) Johan Jooste, commanding officer of special projects at SANParks, when he addressed the South African Rotary Club at their biggest function of the year at Ingwenyama Conference & Sports Resort on Friday.
More than 400 delegates of the South African Rotary Club gathered there over the past week for the grand event, which commenced on Tuesday and concluded on Saturday. Jooste was one of many speakers who addressed the party about important issues in our country. He is responsible for all issues relating to anti-poaching strategy, planning and execution. During his speech, aptly named “The So-Called Rhino War”, Jooste highlighted the successful operations in which Mozambican rangers were involved, as well as the importance of community cooperation in the war against poaching.
We are super proud to acknowledge our canine heroes and their handlers!!!!
THEY HAVE STRUCK ONCE AGAIN this week and 3 suspected poachers were neutralised and another weapon was recovered.
These foxhounds are unique in that they are able to track off lead and this makes them super fast. The hounds are equipped with GPS monitors enabling the rangers to monitor the hounds by helicopter. Their skills are fast becoming an integral and game changing feature of the war against rhino poaching.
These amazing little hounds have been instrumental in the apprehension of 17 suspects this year already, with the recovery of 10 rifles.
Unitrans Volkswagen are the sponsors of these little rhino protectors who are aptly named Chico, Jetta and Kombi.
The hounds have adapted well to the rugged conditions in the Kruger National Park. They totally ignore the wildlife tracks and animals they may encounter during their human tracking and are able to track at 19kms and hour.
Well done to the whole team who are part of this successful project.
Members of the public can contribute to this project by clicking on this link and making a donation to help save our rhinos for future generations
10 May 2015
We, as the Department of Environmental Affairs, remain committed to providing accurate, timely account in relation to this very important topic: the conservation of the iconic African rhino.
We recognize and note the vital role that the people of this country and media whom we often speak through, have to play; not just in awareness of our people but also to the conservation of the rhino. We also continue to recognize the importance of mobilizing public support for our efforts and campaigns to fight rhino poaching, as led by the government. We also remind you that the fight against rhino poaching is a fight to be waged by all of us.
This government will not win this battle alone, but through real tangible efforts by all of us.
Since we announced the implementation of our Integrated Strategic Management Approach of Rhinoceros last year, I have also consistently urged members of the media towards responsible reporting on the issue of rhino poaching as well as on conservation efforts.
There has been a rise in the number of arrests of suspected poachers in the Kruger National Park (KNP) since the beginning of April of this year. Since the beginning of this month there have been 22 arrests for suspected poaching activities inside the KNP. This brings to 56 the total number of arrests in the Park since the start of 2015.
KNP rangers, bolstered by additional aerial and canine support, have managed to substantially improve the effectiveness of anti-poaching operations inside the Park.
In a dramatic swoop shortly before sunset on 25 April 2015 SANParks rangers, supported by the Dog Unit, the SAPS reaction team and a helicopter donated by the Howard Buffet Foundation: netted two suspected rhino poachers- following a sighting in the Phalaborwa area of the KNP.
The team recovered a 458 hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment. Two sets of rhino horns were also recovered during the arrests.
Mbombela , 21 April 2015 - Four Mpumalanga men convicted of trespassing and illegal hunting in the Kruger National Park were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment each.
Patrick Ngwenya, 28, from Marite village, Sibusiso Mpangane, 26, and Thulani Mchunu, 31, both from Mkhuhlu village, and Charles Zitha, 29, from Nyongane village, were sentenced when they appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Wednesday. They were found guilty of trespassing, carrying out a restricted activity in the game reserve and possession of illegal firearms and ammunition. State prosecutor Isbet Erwee said poaching related crimes were prevalent in the regional court.
"The court is aware of the increase of such cases in the past four years. Since July last year until February, cases of rhino poaching were high in the Kruger National Park and some carcasses have still not been found," she said. Erwee said 34 rhino poaching cases were recorded in July last year, 75 in August, 60 in September, 27 in November, 66 in December, 49 in January and 22 in February. “A total of 53 firearms, 228 ammunition, 42 axes, nine vehicles and 20 rhino horns were seized during the arrests. In each poaching group arrested there were two or more firearms, knives and axes,” she said. The prosecutor said since the arrest of the four accused in court, poaching had increased in the Kruger Park.
“This is despite attempts and further attempts in actively handling poaching operations, or convictions of suspects. But still, people don't seem to listen. When the rhinos are killed, they only take the horns and not the meat,” she said.
Erwee said the accused showed no respect for the law and they also intimidated witnesses.