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U.S. authorities today announced the indictment of the alleged kingpin of a South African rhino poaching and trafficking syndicate, Dawie Groenewald, and his brother, Janneman, and their company Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris on multiple charges, including conspiracy, money laundering, and wildlife crime.
The Groenewald brothers own and operate Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris, an outfitter that organizes and conducts trips in private hunting areas in Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, including at their 10,600-acre (4,300-hectare) game farm, Prachtig, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) south of the town of Musina, in South Africa's Limpopo Province.
U.S. authorities will be seeking to extradite the brothers from South Africa
The Department of Environmental Affairs has congratulated Fundisile Mketeni on his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of South African National Parks (SANParks). Cabinet approved the appointment of Mr Mketeni as the CEO of SANParks on a five year contract at its meeting on 22 October 2014.
Mr Mketeni has extensive experience in conservation management having been a conservation career professional. He has spearheaded the country's biodiversity agenda for the last 10 years as the Deputy Director General responsible for Biodiversity and Conservation in the Department of Environmental Affairs.
“The Department would like to thank Mr Mketeni for his excellent service and dedication to the conservation of our rich biological diversity,” said the Department. “We are looking forward to working with Mr Mketeni as he moves SANParks into the future. In the face of the ongoing challenges of rhino poaching, we have faith in Mr Mketeni’s abilities to address the scourge head-on.”
“I welcome the confidence placed on me by the SANParks Board, the Minister and the country as a whole,” said Mr Mketeni. “I am looking forward to serving the country and committed to continuing with the good work and also to positioning the organisation as a lead agent in conservation nationally, regionally and globally.”
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.