The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries reported that incidents of rhino poaching had decreased by a third last year, but Tourism Update readers say there’s more to the story.
This week’s top comments were posted under an article detailing the department’s report on poaching, which said there had been a year-on-year decrease in rhino poaching for the past six years.
Readers pointed out that, in fact, the rhinoceros population in South Africa had decreased significantly, thus skewing the department’s perspective.
Sales and Marketing Manager of Captured in Africa, Paul Tully, said: “Sadly, for a second year running, the department insists on focusing on what they see as positives. Most experts agree that rhino populations are down – including recent figures published in Africa Geographic – meaning there are sadly far fewer rhino to be poached. Which is a worrying sign and something the department is refusing to highlight.”
G Smit, another reader, added: “Agreed. The SANParks annual report for 2010/2011 stated that the KNP White rhino population was between 8 700 and 12 700. It is now estimated that the population is down to 4 000. This indicates a decline of between 55% and 69%. It is clear that there are fewer rhinos to poach.
“It is very important to realise that SANParks cannot stop rhino poaching on their own. They require the political will and assistance from the RSA big-talking government to do so.
“Some may now say the SANDF has deployed soldiers in the parks. This may be so, but from the available figures it is very clear that this was not effective at all.
“So, announcing the decline in poaching sounds very good but the sad reason is that there are much fewer animals to poach.”
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