Rhino Poaching Stats: Slight Decrease But still Far Too High

Rhino Poaching Stats: Slight Decrease But still Far Too High
Published: 26 January 2018 (341 Views)
The small decrease in overall poaching in 2017 has been overshadowed by a growing concern for the increase and broadening of poaching elsewhere in South Africa as only 1 in 10  rhino poachings resulted in convictions.

A total of 1028 rhino were poached from 1 January to 31 December 2017, marking a small decrease of 26 animals compared to 2016, the Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa confirmed at a briefing on the progress on the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Management of the Rhino.

The increase in poaching in five provinces, namely KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, the Free State and North West in 2017, however, is cause for grave concern.

This while the Kruger National Park (KNP) again gained ground, showing a 24% decrease in poaching incidents since 2016. The number of overall poacher activities in the KNP also dropped 7,6%, while a total of 220 weapons were seized in rhino-related incidents inside and adjacent to the KNP in 2017.

The successes within the KNP, however, has been marred by increased pressure elsewhere. Molewa notes the phenomenon as an indication that criminals are exploring alternative measures to satisfy the demand. She says the law-enforcement authorities are faced with an increasingly difficult task as poachers and "smugglers are coming up with new ways and methods to process horn and smuggle it out of the country."

WWF South Africa, commenting on the stats agrees, saying, "Poaching syndicates on the ground are connected to cross-border wildlife trafficking networks and continue to redirect their efforts to where the risk is lower and the benefits greater."

It is also concerning  that 21 officials from within the anti-poaching authority were amongst the arrests for poaching-related offences. To weed out insiders, SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni confirmed that 'integrity testing' has been implemented for all employees.

Meanwhile, as pressure escalates, the South African government is yet to adopt the National Integrated Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, or Regulations on Domestic Trade in Rhino Horn. A Memorandum of Understanding signed with Mozambique in 2014 has also not been consolidated, with the Implementation Agreement yet to be confirmed.  

Increase in conviction rate

Along with the small drop in recorded poaching incidents, the DEA reports an increase in convictions from arrests made. In 2017, a total of 518 arrests linked to rhino poaching and horn-trafficking were made, of which 111 criminals were successfully convicted.

This 21% conviction rate marks a substantial from 2016 when only 58 of 680 arrests, or 8.5%, were convicted.

However, when convictions are calculated against rhinos poached ,the rate is only 10.8%, so effectively  only 1 in 10 rhino poaching incidents led to  a successfully conviction. 

There were a number of heavy prison sentences meted out to convicted paochers and middlemen how ever it is concerning to note that many of these had the option of a fine.

According to Molewa, anti-poaching efforts will only get tougher. "The increases in other provinces, coupled with the sharp rise in elephant poaching tells us that as we progress and evolve, so do the tactics and methods of the poachers. It is up to us to remain ahead of the game at all times."

Elephants under fire

Apart from the poaching epidemic spreading geographically and into official structures, Molewa also noted the increase of elephant poaching incidents in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in 2017.

A total of 67 elephants were killed for their ivory in the Kruger National Park, compared to 46 in 2016, while one elephant in KZN was also poached.

The increase in elephant poaching comes despite Molewa mentioning during the mid-year poaching review in July 2017, when 30 elephants had already been poached, that "interventions implemented to counter rhino poaching [were] also used to respond to this emerging threat [of elephant poaching]".

Since July 2017, 37 more elephants were poached in the KNP. According to WWF South Africa, the DEA must act fact and address the elephant poaching issue ahead of the curve to prevent the escalation seen for rhino.


- conservationaction.co.za

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

ZimFirst leader promises a new Zimbabwe

by Stephen Jakes | 20 February 2018 | 190 Views

Tsvangirai FOREVER

by Itai Mushekwe | 20 February 2018 | 459 Views

Tsvangirai's son endorses Chamisa

by Stephen Jakes | 20 February 2018 | 298 Views

Dynamos, Caps to face Zambian sides

by Staff Reporter | 20 February 2018 | 98 Views

Build Zimbabwe promises to develop the nation to competitive status

by Stephen Jakes | 20 February 2018 | 64 Views

Pizza Hut launches in Zimbabwe

by Staff Reporter | 20 February 2018 | 125 Views

The New Zanu-PF has shown political maturity and tolerance

by Dr Masimba Mavaza | 20 February 2018 | 109 Views

'Late Tsvangirai forgave Mugabe'

by Staff Reporter | 20 February 2018 | 222 Views

Zimra implements new strategies

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 84 Views

Obert Mpofu Parly probe over missing $15bn postponed

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 85 Views

Govt to proclaim bonus pay dates

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 94 Views

Khupe, Mudzuri, Elizabeth shut out at Tsvangirai funeral

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 215 Views

Peter Zwide Kalanga unveiled as Ndebele King

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 123 Views

Tsvangira's Freedom Square last bow

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 64 Views

'Companies tired of bankrolling Zanu-PF'

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 78 Views

More drama at Tsvangirai send-off

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 261 Views

Domestic dispute ends in tragedy

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 78 Views

Chivayo, business partner clash

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 62 Views

Kombis banned from CBD

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 94 Views

Man kills wife's lover

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 83 Views

Mnangagwa to repossess Chipanga's Farm

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 129 Views

Mzembi freedom bid thrown out

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 45 Views

Pupil bites 14 classmates

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 41 Views

Bosso turn tables on Chicken Inn

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 30 Views

Zifa lift Peter Dube suspension

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 48 Views

Matabeleland communities seek apology over Gukurahundi atrocities

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 28 Views

Govt starts offering STEM scholarships for teachers

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 32 Views

Mnangagwa's compassionate politics good for country

by Nick Mangwana | 20 February 2018 | 90 Views

Banning second hand car imports not fully thought out

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 82 Views

Gogo Tsvangirai trending

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 131 Views

Council clears Egodini for mall project to resume

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 25 Views

Mobile network operators directed to tackle money transfer hiccups

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 53 Views

Fierce game of thrones hits Zimbabwe opposition

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 29 Views

Mugabe birthday low key event

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 177 Views

Bulawayo flash floods leave trail of destruction

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 35 Views

Govt moves to promote local motor industry

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 33 Views

Chiwenga commands political parties to observe peace

by Staff reporter | 20 February 2018 | 40 Views