Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy.
Snaring has increased in the boundaries of the Kruger National Park since 2020, with a total of 7 270 snares removed last year, according to Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy.
Although no specific research has been undertaken to understand the primary drivers of snaring incidents, “we notice the increase coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic and increased poverty among communities adjacent to the Kruger National Park”, Creecy said.
She was responding to parliamentary questions posed by Hannah Winkler, the Democratic Alliance’s member on the portfolio committee on forestry, fisheries and environment.
Winker had asked Creecy how prevalent snaring was in and on the borders of the Kruger; whether it was concentrated in any particular areas; whether there were any discernible snaring trends; whether snaring was increasing or decreasing and what the total number of snares were detected and removed in the Kruger in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
In her written response, Creecy said t7 270 snares were removed in 2022; 4 450 in 2021; and 2 407 in 2020.
Snaring in the Kruger is limited within a few kilometres from the perimeter boundary fence.
“Most snares are set along the boundaries of the KNP. However, snared animals are seen throughout the park as they often move vast distances with snares attached to them.”
Various programmes have been ongoing to remove snares in high-risk areas, Creecy said. These include regular field ranger patrols, daily fence monitor patrols and specific snare removal patrols by South African National Parks honorary rangers.
“Snared or injured animals are reported to the SANParks emergency hotline, which operates 24/7 and all reports are actioned for the attention of the section ranger, the Veterinary Wildlife Services Unit, or the state veterinarian,” the minister said.
Over the past three years, snaring has been most prevalent in the sections along the far northern boundary of the Kruger, namely the Pafuri section and the far western boundary of Kruger, namely Pretoriuskop, Stolsnek and the Skukuza section.
Creecy said 11 sections reported snares during 2020, 2021 and 2022 and “all of these sections are situated along the boundary of the park”.
Snaring trends are linked to seasons, specifically fire and water availability. “It is most prevalent during the drier months of the year when animals frequent specific water sources such as rivers and streams along the boundary and recently burnt areas.
“Snares are often set along the various paths leading to the water sources and burnt areas. Therefore, there is an increase in snaring during the drier parts of the year,” said Creecy.