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Media Release: SANParks calls on South Africans in fighting poaching
This year alone, 46 rhino carcases have been discovered in the iconic Kruger National Park which is bearing the brunt of the carnage. Six were from last year and 40 from the past 21 days of 2014. This has brought more resolve from the Rangers Corp to double their efforts to keep the species alive.
This weekend alone saw four armed contacts with Rangers that resulted in the death of seven suspected poachers. Rangers confiscated four hunting rifles, ammunition, poaching equipment and a pair of horns. The death of the seven suspects brings to 11 the number of poachers killed in contacts with our Rangers Corp and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members in the KNP in January 2014. During these incidences two suspected poachers were arrested and eight firearms recovered. These armed contacts take place during the night and present a high level of risk to members of the KNP Rangers Corp.
Well over 80% of the incursions are from the Mozambican side. Multiple incursions of up to 15 heavily armed groups operate in the KNP at any given time especially during the full moon period. They operate in groups of four to six and are aggressive and engage and shoot at the Rangers on sight, creating a daily life threatening situation. The recent recovery of a handgun at a contact scene suggests elevated levels of aggression from the poaching groups. This heightens the fear of losing a ranger to a poacher’s bullet.
Despite all of the above, the Officer Commanding of the Rangers Corp, Major General (RET) Johan Jooste is optimistic that his well thought out long term strategy will bear fruits. “ We brought down the level of poaching incidents last year to 42.6% from 72.6% the previous year, we have also arrested 123 individuals in connection with poaching activities, it is now up to the prosecuting teams, investigators and the SAPS to conclude what we have started. We would like to ask the public, law enforcement agencies and our counterparts in Mozambique, to play their part, match the work that is being done by the Rangers and we will reap the rewards and win this war” concluded Jooste.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications
Tel: 012 426 5170
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli
Acting Head of Communications, SANParks
Tel: 012 426 5203, Cell: 073 373 4999
Media Specialist SANParks
Tel: 012 426 5315, Cell: 083 673 6974
Gabrielle “Gabby” Venter
Manager, Media and Stakeholder Relations
Tel: 012 426 5065, Cell: 083 825 9435