KRUGER NATIONAL PARK – South African National Parks (SanParks) recently launched a man hunt for poachers who killed two rhinos at the iconic Kruger National Park on February 3.
Sanparks, SAPS crime investigating unit and the KNP forensic investigators attended a crime scene, on the western boundary of the KNP, where a carcass of the mother and calf were discovered on January 19.
Two bullet points were found on the crime scene and were taken for identification. The rhino horns were taken by the poachers.
Addressing the media at the park recently, Isaac Paahla, the KNP General manager said: “It is a big lossfor the SanParks because over the past 3 years there was drought, it is such a huge set back having a mother and child killed.”
“We have successfully engaged the community in Mozambique and we are glad that poaching is now a criminal offence in Mozambique. We have seen 7 to 15 years sentences over the past few years for poaching.”
Paahla added, “Not only animal poaching is alarming in the Kruger National Park, people also poach trees. Some trees are now extinct because they are being poached for medicine, one such tree is the pepper bark which is the most poached inside the park.”
Paahla revealed they had put measures to fight poaching, adding they had engaged the community in a bid to combat the scourge.
In 2012, San Parks hired a retired SANDF General to train the rangers.
Navashni Govender, the conservation manager at the Kruger National Park, said cutting and
harvesting trees had a negative impact, adding they had engaged community and traditional
leaders along the border to fight poaching.
“We began a programme on what can we do to reduce the poaching of these trees. We have started to supplement to donate trees to the community. We also donate to our staff and have recently donated to Zimbabwe and Swaziland.” Said Govender.
Kruger National Park is one of the biggest wildlife enclaves in the world.