rhino poaching crisis

By: The Game Rangers’ Association of Africa

  • by onRoute
  • May 31, 2013
  • 1156
  • News

The rhino poaching crisis being experienced in the Kruger National Park is increasing in magnitude daily. This situation has escalated to the point whereby as of 23rd May 2013, 1065 rhino have been poached within the park since 2010. The Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA) finds the current situation deplorable.

The GRAA acknowledges the role played by the dedicated field personnel who are attempting to keep this situation under control. The sacrifices that these men and women are making in order to ensure the preservation of our natural resources deserve further recognition and appreciation. The debt we owe these dedicated and brave conservationists and their families can never be repaid.

The GRAA calls on President Jacob Zuma and the South African government to fully acknowledge the onslaught that our rangers are facing while they attempt to protect not only South Africa’s rhino but its natural heritage in general.

The GRAA calls on President Jacob Zuma and the South African government to fully acknowledge the onslaught that our rangers are facing...

Professionally trained and armed militia from Mozambique enter South Africa to plunder the country’s natural resources on a daily basis. These actions are tantamount to acts of war and such actions are putting not only South African citizens at risk but also one of South Africa’s economic sectors namely tourism[1]. South Africa’s rhino hold significant value within the ecotourism industry. The GRAA does not believe it is the rangers’ responsibility to defend the borders of South Africa against these armed incursions which aim to slaughter the country’s rhino and whoever dares to stand in their defence.

Game rangers operate in a constrained environment in terms of resources and legal boundaries compared to that of the military. The current poaching situation needs to be moved beyond the responsibility of the Department of Environmental Affairs. The financial pressure being felt through the deflection of duty to the Department of Environmental Affairs and ultimately, conservation, needs to be challenged.

We therefore call on the South African government to take a zero tolerance approach to what amounts to total disrespect of the country’s borders. We call for an increased South African National Defence Force presence on our borders to maintain their effectiveness in securing the property, economy and citizens of South Africa.

We urge the South African government to address the matter immediately with Mozambique at the highest possible diplomatic levels, with the mandated ministerial departments and to exert severe pressure on the Mozambican government to address the situation. The current disregard by Mozambican citizens of the sovereignty of South Africa’s borders cannot be allowed to continue. The situation has escalated from an environmental issue to one of national security. It is time to acknowledge this and act accordingly with the full force of the law.

Contact:              The Game Rangers’ Association of Africa
PO Box 84420
(e) info@gameranger.co.za
(f) +27 86 544 5142
(t) +27 82 570 7597