Minister Edna Molewa highlights progress in the war against poaching

10 May 2015

We, as the Department of Environmental Affairs, remain committed to providing accurate, timely account in relation to this very important topic: the conservation of the iconic African rhino.

We recognize and note the vital role that the people of this country and media whom we often speak through, have to play; not just in awareness of our people but also to the conservation of the rhino. We also continue to recognize the importance of mobilizing public support for our efforts and campaigns to fight rhino poaching, as led by the government. We also remind you that the fight against rhino poaching is a fight to be waged by all of us.

This government will not win this battle alone, but through real tangible efforts by all of us. 

Since we announced the implementation of our Integrated Strategic Management Approach of Rhinoceros last year, I have also consistently urged members of the media towards responsible reporting on the issue of rhino poaching as well as on conservation efforts.

We all have a duty as South Africans to ensure that information that we release into the public domain does not ultimately serve the exact opposite of the purpose for which it was intended: thereby giving fodder to the organized criminal syndicates involved in the illegal wildlife trade.

We should be aware that these criminals, like all members of the public, are also consumers of the information we release. Excessive speculation on the fetching price of rhino horn, identifying so-called poaching hotspots, and specifics on rhino translocations in the media does influence the habits and tactics of the syndicates. Add to this the in-detail publication of anti-poaching tactics being employed by the multidisciplinary teams involved in this fight.

So whilst we as the Department of Environmental Affairs will continue to provide regular updates; from your side we once again urge responsible reporting.

We are committed to providing South Africans with relevant information, in support of active, informed and patriotic citizenship.  The fact that we have here with us today, the representatives from the South African Police Service (SAPS), led by Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega to share this information with South Africans through all of you, is indicative of our commitment.

A special thanks to Commissioner Phiyega for making the time to be with us here today: the SAPS play a vital role in helping to combat rhino poaching. 

As you are aware, Cabinet approved the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros in South Africa in August 2014.

 The key aspects of this program include the following:

  • Managing rhino populations
  • Compulsory interventions (proactive anti-poaching measures)
  • International and national collaboration and cooperation
  • long-term sustainability measures

In line with our government’s commitment to transparency and accountability, on the 22nd January this year we reported to South Africans on the significant progress that had been made with regards to the implementation of the interventions thus far.

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Increase in suspected poachers arrested in KNP

There has been a rise in the number of arrests of suspected poachers in the Kruger National Park (KNP) since the beginning of April of this year. Since the beginning of this month there have been 22 arrests for suspected poaching activities inside the KNP. This brings to 56 the total number of arrests in the Park since the start of 2015.

KNP rangers, bolstered by additional aerial and canine support, have managed to substantially improve the effectiveness of anti-poaching operations inside the Park.

In a dramatic swoop shortly before sunset on 25 April 2015 SANParks rangers, supported by the Dog Unit, the SAPS reaction team and a helicopter donated by the Howard Buffet Foundation: netted two suspected rhino poachers- following a sighting in the Phalaborwa area of the KNP.

The team recovered a 458 hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment. Two sets of rhino horns were also recovered during the arrests.

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RHINO TEARS WINES

Breaking news!!!

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 100 000 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 (at R 55 a bottle) for delivery anywhere in South Africa please click here and the friendly team from the winery will contact you to arrange for payment and delivery.

 Click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to fill in your order!

R 2 million worth of equipment donated to Kruger National Park’s Ranger Corps

 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. 

Participating Dealerships

You can support Unite against Poaching at any one of the participating Unitrans Volkswagen dealerships

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Report incidents of poaching & tip-offs
  to 0800 205 005,
08600 10111
or Crime-Line on 32211
 
393  rhinos already lost in 2015
 
1218 rhinos slaughtered  in 2014
 
1004 Rhino lost forever in 2013
 
Funds pledged by Unitrans Volkswagen
so far since September 2011...
R 7,598,150.00
 

 

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Proud winner of the

2013 SANParks Kudu Award

Proud winner of the 2013

GRAA Rhino Conservation Award

 

 

Register

BUY YOUR DREAM CAR through a participating Unitrans Volkswagen Dealer to donate funds to the UNITE AGAINST POACHING trust fund. To register on our website: CLICK HERE

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