Rhino poaching is on the decline in South Africa's Kruger National Park, the area hardest hit by the crime in the country, says Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa.
Between January and end-August 2016, a total of 458 poached rhino carcasses were found in the Kruger National Park, compared with 557 in the same period last year, a 17.8 per cent decline in the number of rhino carcasses, she said in a statement Sunday on progress in the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros.
The period under review covered the period May 1, 2016 to Aug 31, 2016. The report revealed that poaching rates, or the number of carcasses as a percentage of the number of live rhinos, estimated the previous September for each year, reduced by 15.5 per cent compared between the same periods in 2015 (9.6 per cent) and 2016 (7.9 per cent).
The figures come amid a 27.87 per cent increase in the number of illegal incursions into the Kruger National Park, a staggering 2,115 for the first eight months of 2016.
Nationally, 702 rhino were poached since the beginning of 2016 whereas between January and July 2015, a total of 796 rhino were poached.
Molewa said there might be indications that the success of anti-poaching efforts in the Kruger National Park had led to poaching syndicates shifting operations to other provinces.
In the period under review, the number of rhino poached had increased in a number of other provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Northern Cape, compared with the same period in 2015.
"It is also of concern that we have begun experiencing an increase in elephant poaching, despite the vigorous and determined efforts by our rangers, the police and soldiers on the ground. Since January, 36 elephants have been poached in the KNP," said the Minister.
She said the government was utilising experience and expertise gained through efforts to combat rhino poaching to end elephant poaching as well.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK