14 poaching suspects arrested in one weekend

Kruger National Park Joint Operations

South African National Parks (SANParks) today announced three highly successful operations since Friday morning which led to the arrest of 14 suspected rhino poachers. This brings the total number of poaching suspects arrested in the Kruger National Park (KNP) this year to 113.

In a joint operation with members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) on the morning of Friday, 17th October, SANParks Rangers stopped a suspicious vehicle near Skukuza and arrested 5 suspects. A .375 hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment as well as a vehicle were confiscated in the operation.

Later on during the afternoon of the same day, three other suspects were arrested in the Malelane area. During this operation SANParks Rangers, whilst on patrol in this section of the KNP, noticed a suspicious vehicle suspected to be involved in rhino poaching activities.

On Saturday, 18th October, in the Punda Maria section of the KNP, shortly after sunrise, a joint SANParks and SAPS deployment, supported by South African National Defence Force (SANDF) air wing, made contact with three suspected poachers. During the engagement, two of the suspects were seriously wounded and arrested while the third was arrested unharmed. The two wounded suspects were immediately taken to hospital where one later died of his injuries. The remaining wounded suspect is currently receiving treatment under police guard in hospital. A hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were also recovered at the scene. Further follow up investigations in all three operations are currently underway.

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Demand for rhino horn drops by 33% in Vietnam

Posted in The Guardian - 16 October 2014

Efforts to curb the deadly trade in rhino horn appear to be gaining traction, with a poll finding that demand for the animal part in Vietnam has dropped by more than a third over the past year.

After a year-long public information campaign in Vietnam, only 2.6% of people in the Asian country now continue to buy and use rhino horn, a decrease of 38%.

Importantly, there has been a 25% decrease in the number of people who think rhino horn, which is made of the same material as fingernails and hair, has medicinal value. However, 38% of Vietnamese still think it can treat diseases such as cancer and rheumatism.

The polling was conducted by Nielsen for the Humane Society International (HSI) and the Vietnam Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

Vietnam is a key market for the trade of rhino horn, which prompted the awareness campaign to try to deter people from buying and consuming it.

Demand for rhino horn, primarily in China and south-east Asia, is putting severe pressure on rhino numbers in Africa. Last year a record 1,004 rhinos were illegally poached in South Africa, which has more rhinos than any other country. Another 821 have been killed this year.

This explosion in poaching is relatively recent – only 13 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2007. A key reason for this is the soaring price of rhino horn: it can reach $100,000 a kilogram on the black market, rivalling the price of cocaine and gold.

Unitrans VW steps up once more to make a difference in the war against poaching

Unitrans Volkswagen re-affirmed its commitment in the fight against rhino poaching with the signing of a new sponsorship agreement with the South African National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers at SANParks Head Office in Pretoria today.

South Africa is home to approximately 22 000 white and black rhinoceros of which more than 10 000 are found in the Kruger National Park. This represents around 70% of the world’s total rhino population. The South African population is one of the last viable rhino populations in the world, which makes its survival crucial.

The Unite Against Poaching initiative has contributed almost R7 million to the SANParks’ counter poaching effort over the past three years.

“As the SANParks Honorary Rangers we are very excited about the continued relationship with Unitrans. It is partnerships of this nature that allows us to provide the desperately needed support in terms of training and equipment to the counter poaching teams who are in the bush at this very moment. Unitrans Volkswagen has shown the true commitment of a patriotic company which is dedicated to look after one of our country’s most iconic animals and a valuable conservation resource” says Louis Lemmer, Chairperson of the National Executive Committee, SANParks Honorary Rangers.

Divisional Chief Executive of Unitrans Volkswagen, Kevin Gillmer confirmed the sustained commitment to ensuring that the field rangers on the ground have the skills and equipment to allow them to continue their fight against Rhino poaching. “Unitrans Volkswagen, through the Unite against Poaching fund are honoured to have been able to contribute to the fight against rhino poaching, within South African National Parks (SANParks). Together with the SANParks Honorary Rangers we will continue to empower the dedicated field rangers in the protection of our rhinos.”

SANParks has called on corporates and individuals for extra support for the Honorary Rangers' counter poaching effort in order to assist its rangers in the field. The partnership with Unitrans Volkswagen is a great example of what can be done. Through the sale of vehicles by the ten Unitrans Volkswagen dealerships across the country, the company is able to sustain its support and make a major contribution in the counter poaching war.

SANParks Acting CEO, Abe Sibiya acknowledged and appreciated the re-affirmation of the partnership with Unitrans. “Unitrans Volkswagen is setting a good example of what other corporate citizens should be doing in securing the future of parks. We are truly indebted for Unitrans’ generosity and putting their money where their mouth is. Thanks again to Unitrans VW”.

“The time is now for everyone to Unite Against Poaching and help ensure this precious heritage for our children’s children,” concluded Sibiya. For more information visit www.uniteagainstpoaching.co.za

(From left to right) Glenn Phillips, SANParks Managing Executive: Tourism Development and Marketing; Kevin Gillmer, Divisional Chief Executive of Unitrans Volkswagen and Louis Lemmer, Chairperson of the National Executive Committee, SANParks Honorary Rangers at the signing of the new sponsorship agreement.

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787 rhinos killed already in 2014
 
1004 Rhino lost forever in 2013
 
Funds raised so far since September 2011...
R 6 977 450
 

 

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