The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs met this week to get a better understanding of the current situation relating to the illegal killing and conservation of rhinoceros in South Africa and to debate and seek possible solutions to the rhino poaching challenges in South Africa.
Rhino poaching across South Africa and Africa has risen sharply in the past few years and has threatened to reverse the hard-won population increases achieved by conservation authorities during the 20th century. In order to address this problem, Government and various other role-players have initiated various interventions to address the surge in rhino poaching.
Following several engagements over the past two years between the Portfolio Committee and relevant stakeholders, the Portfolio Committee conducted a follow-up workshop on Rhino Poaching in Skukuza, Kruger National Park, from 2 – 4 December 2013, with a view to giving impetus to the efforts and commitment towards minimising the scourge of Rhino Poaching.
The workshop, held in Skukuza, comes as the number of rhino poached for their horn in South Africa since January 2013 increased to 919.
So far this year, 560 rhino have been poached in the Kruger National Park. And the provincial figures stand at a total of 359. In Limpopo alone, 105 rhino have been poached, 82 in North West, 79 in KwaZulu-Natal and 77 in Mpumalanga. The total number of suspected poachers arrested has increased to 316.
The workshop, attended by around 80 delegates, included 13 members of the Portfolio Committee, the Department of Environmental Affairs, provincial departments, SANParks, private rhino owners and numerous stakeholders and NGOs.
The meeting was opened by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Mrs Edna Molewa, on Monday, 2 December 2013, who emphasised the need for cooperation by various stakeholders and indicated the government’s plan moving forward. The Minister reiterated that continuing to do more of the same is not working. The solution to rhino poaching is complex and needs innovative solutions. More....