Forty rhinos in Southern Afric

(Helping Rhinos)

Forty rhinos in Southern Africa were killed and harvested in the first 10 days of July – Save the Rhino

Conservation groups have blasted the Environmental Department for their passive attitude

Forty rhinos in Southern Afric

(Helping Rhinos)

In the last week, the escalating violence against South Africa’s rhinos has become a major national concern.

The facts and figures present a great danger: 30% of the Southern White breed have been wiped out in the last decade, and KwaZulu-Natal alone has seen 142 rhinos poached and killed for their horn this year.

This barbaric epidemic shows no sign of slowing down, either. Research from Save The Rhino has shown that up to 40 rhinos have been murdered in the first 10 days of July.

Of these incidents, two of the rhinos were pregnant. In one particularly devastating day, eight rhinos were slaughtered within a 24-hour period. It is understood one was from Rietvlei, four from Limpopo, and one from the North West province.

Read: KZN’s fight to protect its rhinos rages on –  Park rangers kill two suspected poachers

Save The Rhino have turned their anger towards the Department of Environmental Affairs and what they perceive as an ‘information blackout’ on poaching figures.

Senior Administrator Loraine Liebenberg accused the DEA of facilitating the violence

“We also don’t know all the cases, because of the DEA’s blackout. As to the cause of the spike, there is a pattern of increased poaching, which began with the minister’s notice of intent for the domestic trade in rhino horn, and since the publishing of the auction, poaching has gone sky high.”

“It looks like a gearing up of the syndicates, forming new pathways, because why would syndicates be interested in auctions when they can get it for free?”

The silence is deafening from the DEA. They usually publish quarterly updates on poaching throughout the year, but there has so far been nothing – not even a media briefing – to provide official figures.

Read: Extinction fears raised as poachers kill their 139th rhino of 2017 in KZN

The DEA has yet to complete its audit of privately held stocks or its planned legislative changes around the possession and ownership of rhino horn, and also did not respond to requests for information.

Eventually, inaction becomes action. The longer the DEA try and hide from the problem, the worse it will become. The longer they are passive about this crime, the more people will see poaching as a viable money making option.

There is already blood on their hands.