Parliament gets to grips with rhino poaching

Parliament’s portfolio committee on water and environmental affairs will hold public hearings on possible solutions to combat rhino poaching on Thursday.

The hearings will be heard in the Old Assembly Chamber in the Old Assembly building.

Eleven rhino have been killed in South Africa since the start of the year, with 448 killed last year.

South Africa has a rhino population of 22 000, which accounts for about 80% of the world’s rhino population, South African National Parks CEO David Mabunda told the National Press Club earlier this month.

At the moment, the country’s rhino population — 22% of which was in private hands — was growing, he said.

Climbing levels
However, he warned that if poaching levels continued to climb, there could be a fall in the number of rhino from 2015.

At the same briefing, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said 150 more rangers would be deployed in the Kruger National Park this year to combat rhino poaching. This was in addition to the park’s 500 rangers.

In the 1960s and 1970s Africa’s rhino population was being exterminated at the rate of an estimated 8 000 animals per year.

Rhino horn is valued for dagger handles in Yemen and is prized in traditional medicine to treat fevers in China and Vietnam. — Sapa

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