Rhino Poaching Stats: Slight Decrease But still Far Too High

Rhino Poaching Stats: Slight Decrease But still Far Too High
Published: 26 January 2018 (2518 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

Horror Cyclone destruction trail unravels

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 8 Views

Potraz board okays tariff increases

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 8 Views

Questions over Mnangagwa's choice of advisors

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 8 Views

Jabulani Sibanda to bounce back?

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 7 Views

3 lawyers banned from practising

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 8 Views

Rights Commission finalising probe into Zimbabwe army crackdown

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 8 Views

Warriors ease into Afcon finals

by SuperSport | 24 March 2019 | 8 Views

Open letter to President Mnangagwa

by Viniel Deredza | 24 March 2019 | 8 Views

Mnangagwa goes Biblical: 'Zimbabwe accepts will of God'

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 8 Views

Zimbabwe volcano fears

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 9 Views

Sofa not so good

by ZimVigil | 24 March 2019 | 6 Views

Afreximbank grants Zimbabwe interbank forex trade loan

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 6 Views

'Tax reforms to rescue debt-distressed Zimbabwe'

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 8 Views

Rocks from mountain crush huts in Zimbabwe

by City Press | 24 March 2019 | 10 Views

Chamisa rallies national team

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 82 Views

Dan Tshanda's Zimvavwe protégé keeps Splash alive

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 50 Views

More Cyclone Idai bodies retrieved

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 89 Views

Mtukudzi's daughter plays down Daisy rift

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 75 Views

TelOne donates $100,000 towards Cyclone Idai

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 50 Views

Teacher jailed for assaulting pupil

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 48 Views

ILO in bid to mend Mnangagwa govt, ZCTU rift

by newzimbabwe | 24 March 2019 | 49 Views

3 in court for assault

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 45 Views

Unpredictable PSL season beckons

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 47 Views

Zimbabwe adopts new male circumcision strategy

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 29 Views

Mnangagwa keeps private jet on standby

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 49 Views

SA-based Zimbabwean pastor contributes to Cyclone Idai

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 41 Views

Ex-lover takes Matonga to court

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 51 Views

Fears of cholera outbreak in Manicaland

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 49 Views

War veterans, minister clash

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 51 Views

Fake Zacc officials jailed

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 41 Views

Warrant of arrest for Grace Mugabe's brother

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 36 Views

'Using Air Zimbabwe will pose logistical problems for Mnangagwa'

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 61 Views

Robbing the poor in the name of patriotism

by Tawanda Majoni | 24 March 2019 | 54 Views

Zimbabwe banks must support the interbank trading

by Andrew Lampard | 24 March 2019 | 47 Views

Mnangagwa pledges support for Gukurahundi victims

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 20 Views

Potraz brings toll free platforms to rural folk

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 23 Views

Gweru prophet sets up school of spiritual gifts

by Staff reporter | 24 March 2019 | 21 Views