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SOS Rhino : In the News : Poaching increasing in Kruger Park

Poaching increasing in Kruger Park
Mon, 05 Dec 2005

The Democratic Alliance has called on Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk to fill the vacancies of anti-poaching personnel urgently in the Kruger Park following a rise in poaching.

Van Schalkwyk said in reply to a recent parliamentary question by DA MP Gareth Morgan that 73 animals were killed by poachers in the Kruger National Park during the 2004/05 financial year - the highest figure for animals killed in the park in the past three years.

"To make matters worse, the figure is probably a severe undercount of the actual number of animals killed," Morgan said on Sunday.

Two endangered species suffered losses in the past year, including the sable, of which four were killed, and the black rhino, of which one was killed.

It was also notable that there had been a dramatic increase in the poaching of impala - from six in 2002/03 to 43 in 2004/05.

This could indicate an increase in subsistence poaching as a result of growing poverty in surrounding communities, or it could be attributed to a growth in the bush meat trade, Morgan said.

"Looking at the past three years, twenty-two white rhinos, seventeen elephants, seventeen buffaloes, five black rhinos, thirteen warthogs, two lions, and a crocodile have been killed by poachers in the Kruger Park."

Considering the size of the park and the high number of animals it contained, the figures for animals killed by poachers was still a small percentage in terms of overall species' numbers.

"But the point of conservation is to protect our animals," he said.

Further, in light of the fences already being removed between the Kruger Park and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, as well the future creation of a corridor between the Kruger Park and Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, there were likely to be increased risks to the animals.

"Neither of the Kruger Park's neighbouring parks in Mozambique and Zimbabwe is well policed by anti-poaching personnel.

"Unless Van Schalkwyk re-examines the security needs for the Kruger Park, the number of animals poached could dramatically increase in the future," Morgan said.


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