The latest rhino-poaching statistics released by South African Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa yesterday paint a grim picture for the iconic rhinoceros. The rhinos barely have a decade left due to how sophisticated these syndicates have become.
The worrying part is that once these creatures are gone, the crime gangs will move on to other vulnerable species.
As of May 1st 393 rhinos had been killed in the South Africa – 290 of these in the Kruger National Park.
General Johan Jooste, who commands SANParks’ special projects unit, said syndicates comprised not only poachers but also intricate support structures that included drivers and middlemen based in communities around the park.
SANPark, who runs and protects the parks, said that between January and April this year there were 900 incursions into the park by poachers.
China is the main purchaser of Rhino horns, falsely believing they cure a host of ailments – which they do not.
The Chinese country has refused to take a stand on elephant and rhino poaching which has led to massive demand for the illicit horns and tusks.
Syndicate poachers were now making more incursions into the park from within South Africa, rather than from Mozambique.
During the same period last year the number of rhino lost to poachers for the whole of the country was 331, with just 212 killed in the Kruger National Park.
Arrests of poachers increased from 96 between January and April last year to 132 for the same period this year.