By Chris Spillane
Mozambique will hire ex-military personnel to set up a force to combat the poaching of rhinoceroses and elephants in both its own conservation areas and those of neighboring South Africa, the Joaquim Chissano Foundation said.
The foundation, named after the country’s second president, will partner the government in an initiative that aims to stop the slaughter and illegal trade of rhino as well as reduce the number of Mozambicans killed in fighting poaching, said the foundation said in an e-mailed statement.
Mozambican poachers often cross a porous border into South Africa’s Kruger National Park where they are shot in clashes with rangers and soldiers.
“The prevalence of this illegal exploitation is not only endangering the future of Mozambique’s wildlife, but also posing a serious threat to its flora, besides undermining the political, economic, security, social and environmental stability of the country,” the foundation said.
More than 688 rhinos have been poached in South Africa so far this year compared with 668 a year earlier, according to the government. About 418 of those have occurred in Kruger, an area the size of Israel.
Rhino horns and ivory are mainly smuggled to Asian countries including China and Vietnam. Rhino horn is believed, falsely, to cure cancer and increase virility.