By Natalie Simon
The Kruger National Park continues to be hardest hit by rhino poaching with 245 rhino killed so far this year said Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson Albie Modise in a statement on Wednesday. He said the only province not affected by poaching has been the Northern Cape as 39 rhino have been poached in Limpopo, 37 in KwaZulu-Natal and 26 in North West.
A total of 106 people have been arrested for rhino poaching-related offences since 1 January 2014.
Modise said to combat poaching South Africa and Mozambique are working together on an implementation plan the two countries hope will beat the scourge of rhino poaching. The implementation plan contains a number of projects that will assist with the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management signed by the two countries on 17 April 2014.
“It is hoped that the Implementation Plan will be finalised and signed by the end of July 2014,” said Modise.
“Discussions have started on fundraising projects to address the scourge of rhino poaching, wildlife trafficking in general, community development issues and raise awareness about the plight of the rhino,” he added.
“Talks have also been held regarding the strengthening of enforcement mechanisms to ensure rhino poaching is nipped in the bud.”
Modise said the countries agreed to start on immediate maintenance and erection of fencing along the eastern boundary of the Kruger Park with Mozambique; to create an intensive protection zone in the Limpopo National Park; synchronise operational plans and deploy a well-trained and armed anti-poaching unit for joint collaboration with the Kruger National Park team.
The governments of South Africa and Mozambique further agreed that the Ministers responsible for the implementation of the MoU will meet annually to discuss progress and identify areas for further cooperation and additional attention.
The MoU was signed at Skukuza in the Kruger National Park by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs BEE Molewa, and the Mozambican Minister of Tourism, Mr Carvalho Muária.