The impact of poaching in South Africa could soon take its toll on one of the country’s most lucrative sectors, namely tourism, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) warned on Friday.
Wessa said according to a number of reports this is already happening in Tanzania, where tourism is the second most valuable sector to the economy.
The Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute has reported that there may be as many as 30 elephants being poached per day. This is believed to be contributing to a declining tourism economy over the last two years.
Similarly, tourism in Mozambique is extremely important as it has shown a 13% year-on-year increase since 2006 and is estimated to account for 14% of the GDP by 2014.
South Africa has lost a total of 2 409 rhinos since 2000 - 95% of these in the past five years. There are only about 25 500 rhinos remaining on the continent.
At present, South Africa is losing one rhino every nine hours and a total reported number of rhinos killed so far this year is sitting at 635.
"Currently, with the uncontrolled nature of poaching in the country it has resulted in a culture of unsustainable resource consumption preventing the growth and development of safari tourism in Mozambique," said Chris Galliers, co-ordinator of Wessa's Rhino Initiative.
"Ultimately, sustainable employment opportunities for a poverty stricken population will be lost."