Call for Action Against Rhino Poaching

Aug 2, 2023 | Press Releases

The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature, says more action is needed to deal with the scourge of rhino poaching.

According to statistics released by the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, in the first six months of 2023, 231 rhinos were killed in South Africa. Forty-two rhinos were poached in the Kruger National Park and 143 in KZN from January to June 2023.

This is a calamity that simply cannot be ignored.

Current statistics indicate horrendous downward tendencies in rhino populations countrywide. Rhino poaching is continuing unabated. It is fuelled by greed and corruption in the absence of proper controls.

The IFP will continue to champion any efforts to safeguard and preserve our precious natural heritage – including our endangered species, such as rhinos. The current situation is rapidly developing into the long feared complete decimation of all rhino species on earth, exacerbated by greed on the one hand, and the inability of conservation bodies on the other hand to find solutions to the dilemma.

The IFP believes that the government has to provide immediate funding to fight this scourge. It is an undisputed fact that poaching presents a critical threat to wildlife-based tourism operations in KZN. Poaching and illegal wildlife trade are not only affecting the conservation of the targeted species, which are already endangered in many places, they are also increasingly threatening the livelihoods and security of the affected human populations.

We note that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife acquired its first SACAA Remote Operating Certificates (ROC) License, which enables the entity to legally operate drones in controlled and uncontrolled airspaces. While Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife intends to use drones in anti-poaching, and search and rescue, among other initiatives, the IFP believes that more still need to be done to address rhino poaching.

Our suggestion on this issue of rhino poaching is to first gather intelligence, so that we can take decisions from an informed position. State security needs to gather intelligence on rhino poaching in South Africa and such intelligence would enable us to nip this problem in the bud.

The three essential elements needed to fight this crisis are: ramping up anti-poaching measures, shutting down illegal trade routes using state-of-the-art technology along the whole trade chain, and supporting efforts to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife.

Organised smuggling syndicates can only be fought by deploying cutting-edge forensic technologies, and by building the capacity of law enforcement officers in the use of such modern technology – adapted to a country’s needs. Furthermore, governmental efforts at supply and demand reduction for illegal wildlife products in KZN need to be strongly supported.

In addition, the IFP calls for a nation-wide investigation into possible collusion between wildlife rangers and poachers who are killing rhinos. We also urge courts to ensure that the punishment befits the severity of the crime. Perpetrators must not be allowed to walk away and continue destroying our heritage. Communities must also expose poachers in their respective areas.

Hon. Steven Moodley MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Environmental Affairs
083 253 2277

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