By Thabiso Radebe
The Free State Department of Tourism, Economic Development and Environmental Affairs says it has made good strides in curtailing rhino poaching in its game reserves.
Four rhinos were poached in 2013 and seven people were arrested. No rhinos have been poached in Free State so far this year.
The department says the success was as a result of a partnership initiative between the police intelligence and conservation staff.
Deputy Director General of Environmental Affairs in the Free State, Tshepo Moremi, says: “The problem of rhino poaching in the Free State is not as big as it's happening in other parts of South Africa because we have a wonderful working relationship.”
“We have established a joint provincial task team with intelligence, with the police and with the defence force. We have put resources, money on the ground especially in terms of intelligence gathering. So, we are able to respond at the appropriate time before events are happening.”
South African National Parks says a dehorned rhino that visitors spotted near Phabeni Gate last week has not been found.
SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli says adverse weather conditions are making it difficult for them to conduct the search.
Thakhuli has urged visitors to alert the authorities when they locate the animal.