Rhino poaching is on the decline in the Kruger National Park – the area hardest hit by the crime – says Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa.
Between January and the end of August 2016, a total of 458 poached rhino carcasses were found in the Kruger National Park, compared to 557 in the same period last year.
This represents a 17.8% decline in the number of rhino carcasses.
The Minister said this in a statement on Sunday on progress in the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros.
The figures come amid a 27.87 % increase in the number of illegal incursions into the Kruger National Park – a staggering 2 115 for the first eight months of 2016.
Nationally, 702 rhino were poached since the beginning of 2016 whereas between January and July 2015, a total of 796 rhino were poached.
Minister Molewa said there may be indications that the success of anti-poaching efforts in the Kruger National Park has led to poaching syndicates shifting operations to other provinces.
In the period under review, the number of rhino poached has increased in a number of other provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the Northern Cape, in comparison to the same period in 2015.
She said despite these increases there is still a downward trend in the number of rhino poached.
“It is also of concern that we have begun experiencing an increase in elephant poaching, despite the vigorous and determined efforts by our rangers, the police and soldiers on the ground.
“Since January 36 elephants have been poached in the KNP,” said the Minister.