31 August 2015
Poachers have killed 749 rhino so far this year in South Africa.
Of these, 544 were poached in the Kruger National Parks, according to Environmental Affairs Minister Ednah Molewa.
The Minister said by this time last year, 716 rhino were poached across the country, with 459 of them falling prey to poachers in the Kruger National Park.
The Minister released the statistics at the back of anti-poaching efforts – which includes pro-active anti-poaching and actionable intelligence strategies as well as implementing conservation measures to ensure that rhino species does not go extinct.
She said government’s anti-poaching efforts were being undertaken in the face of a 27 % increase in poachers entering the Kruger National Park to attempt to kill rhino.
She said that during 2015, there have been 1 617 positively identified poacher activities in the Kruger National Park.
This represented three incursions per day anywhere along the thousand kilometre-long Kruger National Park boarder, the Minister said.
She said government’s anti-poaching agencies and rangers have made physical contact with heavily-armed poachers 95 times so far this year, which is closer to three times a week.
“In response to this escalated threat, we have stepped up our efforts, which includes traditional anti-poaching strategies.
In this regard, the utilisation of K-9 units, night capability as well as air and land capability, is now bearing fruit.
The total number of arrests inside the Kruger National Park was 138 for this year compared to 81 arrests for the same period last year as at 27 August 2015,” added Molewa.