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South Africa's rhino poaching declines in first quarter of 2016

South Africa's rhino poaching declines in first quarter of 2016

South Africa

South Africa has experienced a significant decline in rhino poaching in the first quarter of 2016, officials have said.

According to figures from the country’s Department of Environmental Affairs, 363 rhinos were killed by poachers in the first quarter, compared to the 404 rhinos killed during the first quarter of 2015.

South Africa has the world’s largest rhino population with about 80 percent of the world’s rhinos living in that country.

The decline in rhino poaching has been due to a series of interventions introduced by the government.

Authorities say 206 alleged poachers have so far been arrested since January 1, 2016.

103 alleged poachers have also gone on trial between April 2015 and March 2016 with 49 of the cases finalised and 80 of the accused persons convicted.

During a briefing on the poaching situation, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs noted that “we have increased our detection capacity at the ports by training another 712 multi-disciplinary border officials, in addition to the 1,047 trained last year.”

The training has thus increased the number of Environmental Management Inspectorate officials to 1,759 “in a space of less than eight months,” the Minister added.

Meanwhile, South Africa, which will host the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) later this September, has not ruled out a future call for the regulation of international rhino horn trade.

One of the country’s cabinet ministers however said they would not be pushing for legislation at the upcoming CITES conference.

News Agencies