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SOS Rhino : In the News : DA calls for crack down on Kruger poaching
 

DA calls for crack down on Kruger poaching

  March 09 2004 at 11:06AM
www.io.co.za

Unwillingness on the part of Kruger National Park rangers to work on Sundays might be responsible for the "dramatic increase" in poaching over the past year in South Africa's flagship game reserve, says the Democratic Alliance.

In a statement on Tuesday, DA environmental affairs spokesperson Errol Moorcroft called on the park's management to crack down on the poaching, which was "out of control".

"Seven rhinos and six elephant have been killed in the north of the park in 2003 alone.

"Indications are that poachers use Sundays to attack, due to the complete lack of field staff on duty - clearly something is amiss.

'Indications are that poachers use Sundays to attack'"Lack of discipline on the part of rangers cannot be tolerated in the face of what could become a concerted attack on two of the park's flagship species," he said.

Field rangers who were unwilling to work on Sundays should be replaced by staff dedicated to protecting South Africa's priceless fauna and flora.

Moorcroft said concerns had been raised that poachers might turn their attention southwards, putting all the park's elephants and rhinos at risk.

"Also of concern, is that it is often tourists visiting the park who discover the carcasses, once poachers have removed either the tusks or rhino horn.

"This sends the damning message to the international community that South Africa is incapable of protecting the wildlife in one of its most important conservation areas, and cannot be expected to keep tourists safe either," he said.

SANParks was not immediately available for comment.