By: Sydney Masinga
Mbombela: Organisations that want to help fight rhino poaching have until Friday, February 7 to provide government with their suggested anti-poaching strategies.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has urged all its partners to review South Africa’s current strategy after 86 of the endangered animals were killed in January alone. Last year was the worst on record, with 1 004 rhinos killed.
“The aim of this (review) process is to identify priority areas that require additional assistance and gaps that must be addressed,” said DEA spokesperson Albi Modise.
He said the department also hoped to identify opportunities to collaborate, cooperate or consolidate existing projects and initiatives with its partners.
The department’s partners include NGOs, non-profit organisations, fund raisers, rhino conservation and anti-poaching service providers and donors involved in rhino-related projects.
Modise said 21 suspected poachers have already been arrested this year in connection with the 86 rhinos that were poached since the beginning of January. Last year, 343 suspects were arrested.
Like last year, most of the rhinos killed so far this year (63) were killed in the Kruger National Park. Eight were poached in KwaZulu-Natal, six in Limpopo, four in the Free State, three in Mpumalanga and two in the North West.
Both South Africans and members of the international community are being encouraged to report information related to rhino poaching and related tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.