Pretoria - Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa has welcomed the arrest of 16 members of a rhino horn smuggling syndicate in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Minister Molewa said the arrests confirm that the killing of South Africa’s rhino for their horns was linked to international crime syndicates.
“The government is therefore committed to continue working with our international counterparts, through the improvement of bilateral relations, strengthening of regional and global partnerships… to nip rhino poaching and smuggling in the bud and save the species from extinction,” she said.
Minister Molewa appealed to citizens of the world to stand together and report wildlife crimes, particularly rhino poaching.
The Department of Environmental Affairs multi-faceted approach to combat rhino poaching included building international partnerships with countries believed to be transit countries for smugglers and alleged consumer nations.
“This has included the signing of Memoranda of Understanding in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management with countries such as Vietnam, China and Mozambique.
“MOUs are being negotiated and finalised with several other international partners, including Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand and Kenya,” the Department of Environmental Affairs said.