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20 April 2016 PARLIAMENT – South Africa will not legalise the trade in rhino horn, but stick to its efforts to beef up anti-poaching strategies within its borders, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday.
Briefing the media in Parliament, Radebe said last week’s cabinet meeting endorsed recommendations by a committee of inquiry looking into the feasibility of trading in rhino horn as an option to preserve the country’s rhino population.
“The recommendations endorse South Africa’s integrated strategic management approach to resolving the poaching of rhino and illegal trade in rhino,” Radebe said.
“The committee recommends that the current mode of keeping the country’s stock levels be kept as opposed to the trading in rhino horns.”
The recommendations were also endorsed by an inter-departmental technical advisory committee set up last year to investigate the viability of legalising the trade in rhino horn.
In September, South Africa will host the 17th conference of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. That we have been given an opportunity to host this important event is testimony to South Africa's role at the forefront of conservation of species.
South Africa is the third-most mega-biodiverse country in the world, after Brazil and Indonesia, and contains 7.5% of the planet's plant species as well as 5.8% of its mammals and 8% of its birds.
Win over the people and we will win rhino-poaching war
We are particularly proud of our rhino conservation record, being home to more than 80% of the world's remaining white and black rhinos. It is this very successful conservation record that makes us a target for transnational organised crime syndicates involved in the illicit trade in wildlife.
Last month, the government, through the interministerial committee responsible for rhino poaching, announced that for the first time in a decade, rhino poaching figures had fallen.
This is largely a result of the integrated strategic management of rhinoceros approach adopted in 2014, as well as successful partnerships between various stakeholders including government departments, business, civil society and communities.
Although the figures give cause for optimism, we shall continue to scale up efforts to ensure more rhinos are not lost to poaching. Key to our efforts is involving all South Africans, for we cannot eradicate this problem unless communities see the value of conservation to their lives and livelihoods.
Regretfully, an incorrect perception exists in some quarters that rhino conservation is the preserve of the select few, who are in the main moneyed and with access to vast resources.Read more...
So proud of Kombi and the Unite against Poaching tracker hounds.
During his recent visit to the Kruger National Park, Richard Sowry, the Section Ranger responsible for the training of the Unite against Poaching tracker hounds, introduced Kombi to HRH Prince Harry. Kombi and his handlers, have been responsible for the apprehension of 23 poachers during 2015.
Lets hope this awareness and recognition brings some international recognition and support for this amazing project.
Thank you for caring about the plight of our rhinos sir!!!
Rhino poaching is very much in the news and we are all shocked and horrified by the brutal attack on these amazing creatures. Greed and the subsequent cruelty against these defenseless giants of the bush, brings out the desire to DO SOMETHING!!
South Africa has such a proud heritage of being in touch with nature and the National Parks are such an attraction to visitors from all over the world as well as for us to enjoy. The attacks and poaching in the Kruger National Park has galvanised South Africans in to getting together and getting involved.
So many people have expressed the desire to do just that “get involved” but don’t know how or what to do. The enthusiastic team at Unitrans Volkswagen are a group that are going all out to make a difference and to give the community the ability to make a difference too.
As a subsidiary of the Unitrans Volkswagen, are extremely proud and committed to be a pivotal part of the drive to Unite against Poaching. This initiative has entered into an arrangement with SANParks whereby funds are pledged by participating dealers to be used specifically in the fight against rhino poaching. The dealers pledges funds for each vehicle they sell (both new and Pre-owned) to the trust fund without disadvantaging the customer’s deal. This is a company donation and the customer will still get the best deal in town! The funds generated are administered by the SANParks Honorary Rangers who are all volunteers, so all funds pledged are used for their intention and no administrative costs are incurred.
How can YOU make a difference? Each time a member of the public buys a vehicle from a participating dealer they are directly helping because their purchase is a direct pledge to the trust fund. The more vehicles sold, the higher the pledge to the fund and the more money there is to spend in counter poaching. Make sure all your family, friends and colleagues know that they too can make a difference and get a fantastic deal at the same time.
What happens to the funds? So far the trust fund has handed over R 8 Million to be used to fight poaching. The money is used effectively and efficiently and is not used for administration. The SANParks Honorary Rangers have already supplied basic bush survival equipment to 400 rangers in the Kruger National Park! This includes tents, sleeping bags, first aid kits, cooking equipment, rucksacks, compasses etc so that the rangers are able to survive in the bush for long periods without having to go back to base camp. This makes them much more effective in tracking the poachers.
Advanced surveillance training has also been paid for and money has also been donated towards funding the research into the DNA profiling of rhino. This helps in identifying specific rhinos when poachers are caught and the data has already been used in court to prosecute poachers.
We are also the proud sponsors of the Unitrans Volskwagen Tracker hound unit. These amazing hounds called Chico, Jetta and Kombi have already helped neutralize 17 poachers in 2015 alone.
What this means is that YOU, the public can rest assured that by purchasing your vehicle from a Unitrans Volkswagen dealer you are directly contributing to the fight against poaching in the Kruger Park. We need your help to achieve this.
Show your support for Unite against Poaching, pop into a participating dealership and ask for your bumper sticker for your vehicles and MAKE A DIFFERENCE to the war against rhino poaching.
To identify which are the participating dealerships and for further information you can also log onto the website www.uniteagainstpoaching.co.za.
We are delighted to present Rhino Tears wines.
These 2 delightful drinking wines have been specially crafted by the winemakers at Mount Vernon in support of Unite against Poaching.
For each bottle sold, the winemaker will make a R 15 donation to the Unite against Poaching fund. There has already been a R 200 000 contribution to Unite against Poaching since the launch of this range in December 2014. What a unique way to make a positive contribution to help save our rhinos.
The resulting wines comprise of a good red blend made from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage grapes that allows for easy drinking and appeals to all levels of palate. The white is a delightful fruit driven Chenin Blanc, suitable for enjoying at all occasions
These wines are now available at Macro, Pick N Pay, SPAR, Tops, Fruit n Veg City and major independent retailers.
To order wines directly from the winemaker for delivery anywhere in South Africa please click here and the friendly team will ensure your wine reaches you shortly.
Click here to fill in your order!
Survival equipment to the value of R2 million was handed over at a ceremony in Phalaborwa today, 31 October 2014. Major General (r) Johan Jooste, Commanding Officer, Special Projects for South African National Parks, and representatives of the Ranger Corps were on hand to receive the equipment. The donation was made possible by the Unite against Poaching Trust and the SANParks Honorary Rangers.
Louis Lemmer (Chairman, SANParks Honorary Rangers), Maj Gen Jooste ( Commander, Special Operations KNP), John Turner & Snowy Botha ( SANParks Honorary Rangers Conservation Services)
The equipment which was handed over comprises of basic as well as specialist equipment, which is needed by the men and woman of the Ranger Corps within the Kruger National Park. It includes survival tools such as tents, camp mattresses, torches, sleeping bags, knives, groundsheets, ponchos, water bottles, cooking equipment, headlamps, mosquito nets, medical equipment and GPS’s. Rangers spend extended periods of time in the bush in clandestine operations to fight the poachers. Specialised as well as basic survival equipment is needed to enable them to perform these duties effectively.
Unitrans Volkswagen, in establishing the innovative “Unite against Poaching Trust” is committed to making a significant and sustainable difference in the war against rhino poaching within our national Parks. The Funding for the Unite against Poaching Trust is generated primarily from a Unitrans Volkswagen corporate pledge. For every vehicle sold both new and pre-owned in the 10 participating dealership countrywide, funds are pledged to the Unite against Poaching Trust. Since its inception three years ago, the Unite against Poaching Trust has donated more than R 8 million towards anti-poaching projects within our National Parks. What makes this initiative so unique is that 100% of the funds pledged are utilised for anti-poaching support.
Kevin Gillmer Divisional Chief Executive of Unitrans Volkswagen is determined to ensure that the funds which are pledged to the Unite against Poaching Trust are used effectively and efficiently in support of those men and woman who are on the ground, putting their lives on the line and fighting to ensure the rhinos are safeguarded for future generations. The SANParks Honorary Rangers is the official volunteer organisation of SANParks. Through their close working relationship with the SANParks counter poaching unit they know where the priority needs are. Because the Honorary Rangers are unpaid volunteers no funds are used for administration and every sent donated towards counter poaching is utilised solely for this purpose. They therefore have the unique ability to best utilise the resources available to make a real difference in the poaching war on the ground. “This equipment handover once again confirms our ongoing commitment to the war against rhino poaching in general and rhino poaching in particular” Gillmer said. “We need to make sure that our rangers are as well as, if not better equipped, than the poachers they come up against on a daily basis.
“It is our privilege to represent the people of South Africa in support of our national parks.” said Louis Lemmer, National Chairperson of the SANParks Honorary Rangers. “South Africans are united against rhino poaching. It is through the support of the people of South Africa and proudly South African companies such as Unitrans Volkswagen, that we will win this war.”
Unitrans Volkswagen is justifiably proud of their contribution, in partnership with the SANParks Honorary Rangers, ensuring that the Rangers in the field are able to continue to safeguard the rhinos for future generations. We would like to encourage members of the public and corporates to join us in this fight against rhino poaching within our national parks by ensuring that the next Volkswagen vehicle they purchase is made from one our participating dealerships. The more vehicles which are purchased the more funding we are able to pledge to the fight against rhino poaching. Please visit www.uniteagainstpoaching.co.za to see how you can make a difference. The time is now, for everyone to Unite against Poaching to help ensure this precious heritage for our children’s children.