Ninety-four people have been arrested for rhino poaching and smuggling rhino horn since the start of 2013, according to the South African environmental affairs department.
“44 alleged poachers have been arrested in the Kruger National Park, 20 in Limpopo, 13 in KwaZulu-Natal, 8 in North West, 6 in Mpumalanga, and 3 in Gauteng,” reports department spokesperson Albi Modise. He also urges South Africans to report poaching.
“The arrests came as the number of rhino poached since the beginning of the year increased to 292.” The Kruger National Park continued to be the worst hit, with the number of rhino poached there since January increasing to 216.
Latest statistics for Poached Rhinos in South Africa:-
2008 = 83
2009 = 122
2010 = 333
2011 = 448
2012 = 668
2013 = 292 rhinos have already been killed this year .
At this rate, the poached rhino figure could reach nearly 800 by the end of 2013.
Rhino poaching is also on the rise in East Africa as well, so a new focus is being tried. A private sanctuary in Kenya, Lewa Conservancy, with 12% of Kenya’s rhinos, has recently appointed an ex-captain in the British Army as their CEO, rather than someone who has studied zoology or biology. It is now clear that this degree of poaching is only possibly with people on the inside feeding information, which makes the anti-poaching job extra difficult. “All the helicopters and all the weaponry in the world cannot win a war without on-the-ground intelligence”.
This also follows the devastating news last month, that the last known rhinoceroses in Mozambique have been wiped out by poachers, apparently working in cahoots with the game rangers responsible for protecting them.
Rhino horn is now more expensive (by weight) than gold or cocaine, and as a result rhino poaching is reaching epidemic proportions.
Although a huge amount is being done to prevent the poaching and killing of these protected species, from effectively poisoning the horn with indelible dye, to eliminate its value, and to make it visible on an x-ray scanner so airport security checkpoints can pick up the presence, to state-of-the-art drones patrolling the skies to monitor rhino and potential poaching activity, but clearly still more needs to be done to reduce the unrelenting demand for the rhino horn.
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