By Duncan Alfreds
Corruption among senior officials plays a significant role in perpetuating the poaching of rhino in SA, a conservation organisation has charged.
"We do believe corruption at the higher government levels continues to play a significant role in the ongoing escaltion of poaching. This also filters through to officials managing border posts and points of export (harbours, airports)," Kevin McCann project manager for the Wildlands Conservation Trust told News24.
The trust recently carried out a darting and tagging programme in Kwa-Zulu Natal to help protect rhino from poachers. They tagged seven rhino and fitted them with GPS devices provided by Wildlife ACT Fund so that rangers have a constant flow of rhino location data.
It has been suggested that at the current rate of poaching, rhino in SA will become extinct within decades.
Poachers killed 668 rhino in South Africa in 2012, a 50% increase over the previous year.
Vietnam has emerged as one of the key destinations of rhino horn where it is ground down and used for a number of medical ailments as well as a status symbol.
Despite an "action plan" signed between SA and Vietnam in May, conservationists have lamented the Asia country's record in fighting rhino horn trafficking. More....