Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SA winning war against rhino poachers??

South African Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife yesterday said it was pleased with the low number of rhino reported poached in the province but insisted that it was "too early to claim victory".
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The conservation group said the province was the least affected last year, with only 39 losses from the 333 rhinos which were poached across the country. The statistics from South African National Parks showed that the Kruger National Park led with 146 losses, followed by North West at 57 and Limpopo with 52.

Ezemvelo spokesman Maureen Zimu said only nine rhinos were poached in the province this year, with seven poached from the conservation area and two from private parks. Zimu said two arrests were made and firearms confiscated. The suspects were still to be tried.

She said Ezemvelo's current programme, involving communities and the appointment of ''rhino cops" to report any suspicious activities, was proving to be crucial in curbing future poaching.

"Poachers strike at any time and without warning. We are encouraged that the statistics show that we are working hard to protect the animals . [It] indicates that we are winning a war against this heinous act," said Zimu.

She said one of the group's plans to further strengthen its campaign was the appointment of Jabulani Ngubane, who holds the position of rhino security intervention co-ordinator. Zimu said Ngubane was working around the clock with other law-enforcement agencies in a bid to tighten rhino security.

"White rhinos are in much greater demand than the black ones because of their natural behaviour. Black rhinos are dangerous and charge at the sight of a threat, whereas white [rhinos] are friendly, which is advantageous for the poachers and they seem to be aware of it," said Zimu.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Brigadier Phindile Radebe said they were working closely with the Ezemvelo to arrest poachers.

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