Update on the rhino poaching statistics

The Kruger National Park remains the hardest hit by rhino poachers this year, having lost 61 rhinos to mostly foreign poachers in since January 1. The total number of rhino poached since the start of 2013 is 82. A total of eight have been poached in KwaZulu-Natal, six in North West, four in Mpumalanga and three in Limpopo. Twenty one poachers have been arrested, 14 of them in the Kruger National Park.

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, has noted with concern the increase in rhino poaching and is confident that SANParks is on the verge of a turnaround given the initiatives presently being implemented against rhino poaching. Minister Molewa emphasised the fact that the rhino poaching is fought at various levels that is field coverage, public awareness, regional engagement and at a global level, hence there’s continued investments at all these levels.

In the upcoming CITES meeting, the Minister plans to engage with the regional groupings on the issue of rhino poaching. She will give further details closer to the meeting that will be held in March 2013. On the 22nd February, the Minister is meeting her Mozambican counterpart in a follow up meeting to last year’s engagement on the rhino safety and security co-operation. Minister Molewa has also welcomed the recently announced signing of a declaration by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, banning the import of all white and black rhino specimens.

"The South African government welcomes the announcement by the Government of Vietnam that the prohibition on the export, import and trade of specimens of rhino will come into effect," said Minister Molewa. The prohibition follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Protection by Minister Molewa with the Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Dr Cao Duc Phat. The MoU was signed in Hanoi, Vietnam on 10 December 2012.

The objective of the MOU is to promote cooperation between the two countries in the field of biodiversity management, conservation and protection. Particularly aimed at curbing the scourge in rhino poaching, the MOU seeks to promote cooperation in law enforcement, compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and other relevant legislation and Conventions on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. Officials from both countries are currently working on a draft Plan of Action with short and long term activities which include activities to curb the illegal trade in rhino horn.

In terms of the decision by the Government of Vietnam, signed on 24 January 2013, products derived or made from white rhino, black rhino and the African elephant – all listed in terms of the Appendices of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – may no longer be exported or traded.Live rhino and elephant and its products may, however, be imported for diplomatic purposes, scientific research, biodiversity conservation, zoo displays, exhibitions, non-profit circus performances, law enforcement or exchanged as specimens in terms of CITES management provisions.

The declaration also states that specimens may be imported only for non-commercial purposes in accordance with the cooperative agreement between the CITES Management Authority of Vietnam and the CITES Management Authority of exporting countries, and that specimens for which CITES import permits had already been granted would not be affected.Anyone caught violating the articles of the decision by the Government of Vietnam will be charged either with a criminal or administrative offence subject to the nature and seriousness of the violation in accordance with the country’s existing legislation on management, protection, trading, transportation, export and import of wild species of fauna and flora.

"We believe that this latest development is important for South Africa and will assist our law enforcement authorities to effectively deal with the current scourge of poaching," Ms Molewa said.Last year 668 rhino were poached for their horn in South Africa. Since the start of 2013, 57 rhino have been poached, 42 of these in the Kruger National Park.South Africans are urged to report any information or tip offs that they may have in relation to rhino poaching to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or CrimeLine on 32211.

Rhino poaching statistics:

KNP (SANParks) 146 252 425 61
MNP (SANParks) 0 6 3 0
GP 15 9 1 0
LIM 52 74 59 3
MP 17 31 28 4
NW 57 21 77 6
EC 4 11 7 0
FS 3 4 0 0
KZN 38 34 66 8
WC 0 6 2 0
NC 1 0 0 0
TOTAL 333 448 668 82