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South Africa: Rhino poaching on the decline

South Africa

Authorities in South Africa have announced that Rhino poaching is on the decline in the Kruger National Park.

The country’s minister of Environment Affairs, Edna Molewa said 702 Rhinos had been killed in the country this year, compared with 796 in the same period last year.

She noted that the number of arrests had increased, adding that government is worried about the number of prosecutions.

We recently released statistics, and we always compare quarter to quarter of last year the same time.

“We recently released statistics, and we always compare quarter to quarter of last year the same time. The figures we can give you around 300 as opposed to around 600 or 700 of last year the same quarter, so there is a real downward trend,” she added.

The author of a book “Exposing Illegal Rhino horn trade,” Julian Rademeyer said dehorning has always been one of the tools used adding that there are no single solutions to poaching.

“In neighbouring countries, Namibia being one Zimbabwe being the other, there have been dramatic spikes in poaching. In 2015 for instance Zimbabwe lost 51 rhinos, Namibia have recently updated their figures Namibia lost 125 rhinos, so I don’t think you can look at it in isolation. Certainly there have been successes in Kruger National Park, but the picture remains very dire at this stage.” he said.

“There has also been some change in attitudes in Japan, not just in relation to ivory but lots of other products like rhino horn. Historically until the 1980s, Japan was the biggest consumer of rhino horn because that was the country where people had the wherewithal to buy it.” Said Dr Colman O’ Criodian, Wildlife trade analyst.

Although Security is being stepped up, but park officials admit the use of intelligence is disorganised.

They said many of the army and police units sent to supplement park rangers had no experience of working in thick bush full of potentially dangerous animals.

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