171 RHINO DEAD IN SOUTH AFRICA IN 3 MONTHS
A total of 171 rhinos have been poached between January and April this year, the environmental affairs department said on Friday.
"According to statistics, rhino poachers are targeting the Kruger National Park, where 103 rhinos have been killed," department spokesman Albi Modise said in a statement.
Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and North West were also a prime focus for poachers, with a total of 58 rhinos killed in the three provinces.
Modise said 23 rhinos were killed in Limpopo, 18 in KwaZulu-Natal and 17 in North West. Another 10 rhinos were killed elsewhere in the country.
"The department wishes to once again urge South Africans to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and the prevention of illegal killing, to 0800-205-005," he said.
Investments in high tech
Criminal elements threatening the rhino population at the Pilanesburg National Park will now have to think twice as anti-poaching systems and initiatives already in place at the park were bolstered by R300 000 worth of the latest communications technology from Altech Alcom Radio Distributors together with its channel partner, Lazer Communications.
The donation comprises 18 Motorola MotoTrbo digital two-way radios, two dispatcher units and a repeater, installation and support of the systems, which provide clearer voice communications over a greater range than comparable analogue radios, rejecting static and noise.
The MotoTrbo uses time-division multiple-access technology to provide twice the calling capacity (compared with analogue radios) for the price of one licence.
Poachers have already killed 150 rhinos
90 people in total arrested for rhino poaching
As the battle against rhino poaching intensifies, one of the agencies (Ezemvelo) tasked with preserving and saving the animal has dismissed four staff members involved in rhino poaching.
Calls to legalise the trade in rhino horn to at least slow down the killing rate were gaining ground
A campaigner veterinary nurse Karen Trendler warns that rhinos will be wiped out from South Africa's wildlife parks by 2015 if poaching continues at its current rate
A case for diplomatic engagement:
The department of environmental affairs officials met Hong Kong customs officials earlier this month to discuss a rhino horn shipment seized by Hong Kong authorities in November last year.
South Africa would be able to take DNA samples of the seized goods, to identify the source of the products and to co-operate in the criminal prosecution.
South Africa had spoken to the Chinese government about rhino management, and with Vietnam about the abuse of hunting permits.
Hunting permits would no longer be issued to hunters from countries which did not have the appropriate legislation to monitor the purpose of the trophies, the department said.
It said South African and Mozambican officials had also discussed ways of curbing rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park.
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa met Mozambican Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana jun. in January.
Last year 448 rhinos were killed, and 333 in 2010.
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