By Schalk Mouton
South African and Mozambican conservation agencies met yesterday to fine-tune an implementation plan to "trigger" cross-border operations to pursue and arrest suspected rhino poachers.
This year, 536 rhinos have been killed in South Africa, 334 of which were killed in the Kruger National Park.
The plan moots the extradition from Mozambique of those suspected of poaching – where up to 90% of poachers come from – head of anti-poaching operations at SA National Parks (SANParks) General Johan Jooste said.
The meeting, which involved officials from the Kruger and Limpopo national parks, follows a meeting between Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and her Mozambican counterpart, Alcinda Abreu, at which they agreed on the need for cross-border operations.
The "implementing instructions" that were finalised will be revised in six months' time, Jooste said.
Jooste is a retired SANDF major-general who was contracted by SANParks to coordinate its anti-poaching operations.
The plan will be handed to the respective ministers next week, who will then have to meet and sign it off.
Mozambique – where poaching is not a crime – has been placed on notice by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species to amend its legislation and make the illegal killing of elephants and rhinos, as well as possession of ivory and rhino horn, criminal offences. More....