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Media Release: Minister welcomes youth commitment to fight against rhino poaching

23 September 2013

Walking under the slogan Save Our Rhino to mark World Rhino Day, the participants were constantly cognisant of the fact that the number of rhino poached for their horn has increased to 688 since the beginning of the year.

In the past 10 days 25 alleged poachers have been arrested countrywide, 14 of them in Limpopo Province. Among those arrested is one of the most wanted poachers in the Kruger National Park.

The number of arrests is an indication that additional safety and security measures, including the elevation of rhino crimes to the National Joint Operations Centre, and the improvement of skills of rangers, investigators and prosecutors, are successful.The Rhino Day Street Parade was hosted jointly by the Department of Environmental Affairs, SANParks, the City of Tshwane, SA National Biodiversity Institute, the National Zoological Gardens of SA in Pretoria, the Unitrans-driven Unite Against Poaching, and the Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre in Mamelodi.

The parade was led by the Chief Executive of SANPaks Dr David Mabunda, the MMC for Environmental Management Services in the City of Tshwane, Ms Petunia Mashaba, and the Deputy Director-General for Biodiversity and Conservation in the Department of Environmental Affairs Fundisile Mketeni.The march signals the sustained commitment of the youth to the future of the country’s environmental security, and integrity.

Following the street parade, representatives of the Children of South Africa, handed a Memorandum of Support from the Youth, to the Government of South Africa to Protect our Rhino to Minister Molewa. The Memorandum states that the youth of South Africa are touched, worried and concerned about the country’s rhino and the effect poaching will have on their futures.

“The price of Rhino horn is just not worth it, as it will eventually lead to the rhino’s extinction from the world,” the Memorandum stated. “As youth, we should get involved in our future. The more we do together....the more people learn about rhinos and the more field projects will be supported.”

The children called on all youth to utilise social media to spread the anti-poaching message, and called on Government to consider introducing their 6-point plan. This included increasing national and international awareness, educational and publicity campaigns on the seriousness of rhino horn poaching; the appointment of special force to combat and intimidate poachers and prevent them from entering conservation areas; improved intelligence and greater use of technology in the fight against rhino poaching and increasing funding for antipoaching initiatives.

Minister Molewa, in thanking the Children of South Africa, particularly the children who participated in the Street Parade, said it was only through their efforts, those of their parents, educators and the community at large, working together with government, that the problem of rhino poaching can be effectively addressed in South Africa.

Yesterday, September the 22nd, was World Rhino Day. The theme of this year’s World Rhino Day is Five Rhino Species Forever. The international theme is clarion call that we, as the custodians, of the last five remaining species of rhino in the world, ensure their future survival.

The Minister again assured South Africans that the Government will not allow rhino to become extinct on our watch. The Government, working with our partners in the Justice and Security Cluster, SANParks and other private entities are working hard to meet the continuous challenges being presented in dealing with the poaching crisis.

“The spate of rhino poaching has strengthened the Government’s resolve and determination to work tirelessly to address the plague.”

Among the latest developments is the work being done by the Department of Environmental Affairs, on consultation with the National Treasury, to establish the National Rhino Fund to address all interventions directed to rhino poaching.

Rhino poaching statistics:

KNP (SANParks) 146 252 425 418
MNP (SANParks) 0 6 3 2
GP 15 9 1 4
LIM 52 74 59 80
MP 17 31 28 48
NW 57 21 77 69
EC 4 11 7 2
FS 3 4 0 0
KZN 38 34 66 65
WC 0 6 2 0
NC 1 0 0 0
TOTAL 333 448 668 688

Rhino poaching arrests statistics 

KNP (SANParks) 79 73 82 67
MNP (SANParks) 0 0 0 0
Gauteng (GP) 3 26 16 10
Mpumalanga (MP) 20 66 73 16
Eastern Cape (EC) 0 0 2 7
Limpopo (LIM) 54 43 34 36
North West (NW) 18 32 21 2
Free State (FS) 6 0 0
KZN 45 20 4 25
Western Cape (WC) 0 0 0 2
Northern Cape (NC) 1 0 0
TOTAL 219 267 232 165

To access the Minister’s speech, please click on the link below:

For media queries, contact: 
Albi Modise on 083 490 2871

Issued by:
The Department of Environmental Affairs

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