Speaking at an event to commemorate World Ranger Day 2019, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, stated that a total of 318 rhinos were subject to poaching in the first half of 2019.
She noted however, that this was a decline of 68 incidents over the same period in 2018.
“Last year, 2018, was the third consecutive year that rhino poaching has decreased with 769 reported incidents,” she said, “In the first 6 months of 2019, 318 rhinos have been poached countrywide, a modest decline of 68 incidents over the same period last year.”
Creecy went on to observe that a total of 122 alleged poachers were arrested within the Kruger National Park alone, adding to a total of 253 arrests made across the country.
“From January to June 2019, 122 alleged poachers were arrested within the Kruger National Park.” Creecy stated.
“Nationally, 253 arrests were effected in the first half of 2019 in respect of both rhino poaching and rhino horn trafficking. A total of 61 firearms were recovered during operations in the KNP in this period,” the minister said.
The minister also noted that following a decade or so long attacks on the Kruger National Park, poachers had now set their sights on wildlife in the KwaZulu-Natal region.
“The Kruger National Park has been under heavy attack from poachers in the past decade. This has placed a huge burden on the field rangers working here. Lately, that pressure has increased for rangers in KwaZulu-Natal as poachers turn their attentions to our wildlife there,” she said.
Further, a total of 107 projects across game fencing, water reticulation, game donations, training and capacity building for new and emerging game farmers, is now being supported by the ministry with a view to transforming the biodiversity economy.