KZN Is Losing The War Against Rhino Poachers

Radley Keys, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Conservation and Environmental Affairs

REPORTS that nine rhino have been found slaughtered in Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife game parks, during the past four days, marks the lowest point yet for conservation in our province.

Late last week the national figures for rhino killing were released, with KwaZulu-Natal ranked second worst. The newly discovered carcasses brings the province’s tally to the highest year-to-date number yet, with the figure fast approaching 50. Despite this, KZN lags way behind other provinces in terms of arrests made.

Our province is losing the battle against rhino poaching. Meanwhile, Ezemvelo does not seem to have a handle on poaching within its own reserves. It is inexplicable that carcasses are being found up to three weeks after poaching has taken place. Patrols are either not being done properly or not being done at all and this is an issue that provincial conservation authorities must deal with immediately. If funding for more field rangers is indeed the issue then monies must be made available from the province’s coffers.

The DA expects today’s emergency meeting, called by KZN Ezemvelo CEO, Bandile Mkhize, to address any shortcoming as a result of budget constraints and for the fight against rhino poaching to be made top priority. Officials must also commit to a full-scale SAPS investigation so that corrupt officials within Ezemvelo itself are rooted out.

It is outrageous that despite the efforts of so many – rather than diminishing – the numbers of rhino killed within our province continues to rise so dramatically.

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