Media Release: SA and Laos to sign an agreement to protect and conserve rhino
South Africa and the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) are scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management soon.
The signing of the MoU will be accompanied by the endorsement of an Implementation Plan putting into immediate action concrete steps to, among others, eradicate wildlife crimes through government-to-government and security initiatives, educate the public and raise awareness.
Commenting on the rationale for these MoUs, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs said: “South Africa regards rhino poaching and illicit trafficking in wildlife and endangered species as part of the new and emerging forms of crime, such as illicit mining and trafficking in precious metals, which also require global attention if we are to effectively deal with these crimes.’’
The MoU with Mozambique is on track and scheduled to be signed by early next year. This is a deadline set by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for Mozambique and Vietnam to report on concrete legislative and other security measures taken to curb rhino poaching.
In June 2013, South Africa met with the Mozambique to deliberate on concrete actions to be taken by both countries to combat the scourge of rhino poaching. The two countries have been engaging consistently overtime to find concrete measures to stamp out the scourge.
Rhino poaching has become a huge concern globally, particularly in the conservation fraternity. The South African Government has established collaborations with privately owned nature conservation estates to address this scourge and put specific measures in place to combat illegal hunting within our borders and abroad.
An Implementation Plan, putting into action the terms of the MoU with China in the field of Wetland and Desert Ecosystems and Wildlife Conservation is also expected to be signed soon.
The conclusion of the MoUs with the Lao PDR and Mozambique, and Implementation Plan with China, is indicative of the government’s commitment to step up international and regional efforts to eradicate rhino poaching and wildlife crime in general.
The number of rhino poached for their horns in South Africa since January 2013 has increased to 790, while 31 poachers have been arrested in the past two week. The total number of people facing rhino poaching-related charges has increased to 259.
The Kruger National Park has lost a total of 476 rhino so far this year. Of the total number of rhino poached, 87 rhino have been killed in Limpopo, 65 in North West, 73 in KwaZulu-Natal and 68 in Mpumalanga. Four rhino have been poached in Gauteng, while three have been poached in the Eastern Cape and three in the Marakele National Park in North West.
Rhino poaching was declared a national security risk and a national priority in 2011 and is being dealt with through a plethora of interventions at the highest levels of government. These interventions not only include international and regional cooperation and negotiations to ensure the cross-border nature of rhino poaching is addressed, but also national interventions including legislative amendments, the creation of a National Rhino Fund and greater cooperation with stakeholders, locally and internationally.
South Africans are encouraged to report incidents of poaching and tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.
Rhino poaching statistics:
Rhino poaching arrests statistics :
|Eastern Cape (EC)||0||0||2||7|
|North West (NW)||23||32||21||2|
|Free State (FS)||0||6||0||0|
|Western Cape (WC)||0||0||0||2|
|Northern Cape (NC)||0||1||0||0|
For media queries, contact:
Albi Modise on 083 490 2871
The Department of Environmental Affairs
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