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Media Release: Minister Molewa urges for firm action on rhino poaching syndicates

Date: 2012-11-07

The Kempton Park Magistrate Court is expected to sentence the suspected poaching kingpin, who was found guilty of breaching the Customs and Excise Act and the National Environment Management: Biodiversity Act, tomorrow. Minister Molewa lauded the sterling work done by the country’s law enforcement agencies and the South African Revenue Services in fighting poaching. A total of 222 people have been arrested for rhino poaching and related activities since the beginning of 2012.

South Africa has lost a total of 528 rhinos to poachers since the beginning of 2012, the Kruger National Park remains the hardest hit, having lost a total of 320 rhino since the beginning of this year. SANParks is also working closely with Denel as part of government’s collaborative efforts to combat the poaching scourge on a number of fronts.

In April this year the Department of Environmental Affairs implemented revised norms and standards for the marking of rhinoceros horn, and for the hunting of rhinoceros for trophy purposes.  This saw the introduction of stricter controls for the granting of trophy hunting permits in South Africa and illustrated the serious light in which the Department views the possible abuse of the permit system.

The new norms and standards clearly stipulate that hunting applicants must, amongst others, submit proof of membership to a recognized hunting association, may only hunt one white rhinoceros within a twelve month period and the hunt must be accompanied by an environmental management inspector or an official of the issuing authority. The official accompanying the hunt must also take DNA samples of the rhino horn and fit it with a micro-chip. 

These controls were put in place to prevent the issuing of fraudulent hunting permits. It should be noted that should there be a clear abuse or absolute collapse in any of these controls or of provincial permitting systems, then the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs reserves the right to institute a moratorium on hunting of rhinoceros. The Minister would also like to reiterate that individuals found guilty of abusing the hunting permit system will be dealt with in a serious manner.

Rhino poaching statistics:

KNP (SANParks) 146 252 320
MNP (SANParks) 0 6 3
GP 15 9 1
LIM 52 74 50
MP 17 31 23
NW 57 21 63
EC 4 11 7
FS 3 4 0
KZN 38 34 59
WC 0 6 2
NC 1 0 0
TOTAL 333 448 528

Rhino poaching arrests statistics:

KNP (SANParks) 55 82 67
MNP (SANParks) 0 0 0
Gauteng (GP) 26 16 10
Limpopo (LIM) 39 34 36
Mpumalanga (MP) 57 73 16
North West (NW) 24 21 2
Eastern Cape (EC) 0 2 7
Free State (FS) 6 0 0
KZN 14 4 25
Western Cape (WC) 0 0 2
Northern Cape (NC) 1 0 0
TOTAL 222 232 165

Members of the public are urged to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and prevention of illegal killings to 0800 205 005.

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

Issued by:
The Department of Environmental Affairs on 6 November 2012.


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