20 November 2012

South Africa: Government Condemns the Killing of Rhinos in the North West Province

press release

The Department of Environmental Affairs has noted with concern and condemns the rhino killings witnessed in the North West province this past weekend. The savage and barbaric attack saw a total of seven rhinos killed at a game farm on the Klipkopspruit Farm near Rustenburg, North West.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) would like to reiterate government's commitment to the fight against this on-going plundering of our natural resources.

The Department has also noted that the North West Department of Economic Development, Environment Conservation and Tourism, along with the country's law enforcement agencies, have since launched an investigation into the killing of the seven rhinos this weekend. This investigation forms part of and will be dealt with in conjunction with a series of other similar investigations related to the on-going scourge.

The DEA calls on all South Africans to co-operate with the country's law enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of the recent increase in poaching, especially the recent spike in the North West province. The DEA also calls on all officials employed by the various conservation authorities and provincial departments of environment to put the interests of the country above any personal goals by reporting any potential corrupt activities or any officials suspected of involvement in poaching.

All these on-going efforts by the South African government to curb rhino poaching have to date resulted in a total of 230 arrests. The number of rhinos poached in 2012 thus far stands at 570, with the Kruger National Park being the worst affected, followed by the North West province and KwaZulu-Natal.

With initiatives such as Operation Rhino (a national project established and mandated to handle all rhino related investigations and cases) and the implementation of the norms and standards for the marking of rhino horn and hunting of rhinos for trophy hunting purposes, DEA believes government will see success in its fight against rhino poaching.

Members of the public are urged to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and prevention of illegal killings to 0800 205 005.

Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs

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