South Africa continues to suffer an alarming surge in commercial rhino poaching, driven by the insatiable appetite for rhino horn in Asian countries where rising incomes have made it possible for a growing population to afford illegal rhino horn.
As the country continues to see an onslaught on its rhino population, South African National Parks (SANParks) has inaugurated the first group of the 150 new field rangers. Speaking at the passing-out parade of the newly recruited rangers in the Kruger National Park (KNP), SANParks CEO Dr. David Mabunda said the new recruits are coming at a critical time when the South African conservation agencies as well as private individuals are paying a high price with the senseless killings of the country's rhino population.
A signal of seriousness
"It is for this reason that we need to denounce the killing of our animals by ensuring that we close up the syndicates who are enticing the poorer members of society to engage in criminal activities, recruiting them to be in the front line of these evil operations. It is therefore our hope that integration of these new recruits, with the current cream of the crop in the ranger corps should signal our seriousness in winning the fight against rhino poaching.
"We believe that the passing-out of these 49 new recruits will step up the crime fighting ability against the brutal onslaught on our rhinos, as these new recruits will be adopting a multi-disciplinary approach and will draw upon skills and expertise from various law enforcement agencies currently deployed in the fight against poaching," he said.
Important role of corporates
With the assistance from South Africa's corporate world, SANParks is managing to acquire some of the much needed equipment to effectively take the war to the poachers. "This is an indication that South Africa has realised that the fight against poaching will not only be defeated through the work of law enforcement agencies alone, but by a unified front."
Accepting a donation of R5 million from UNITRANS Volkswagen and Audi in support of anti-poaching activities in the KNP, Dr. Mabunda said the role played by corporate South Africa has been phenomenal and well appreciated as it will go a long way towards the realisation of a stop to the killing of rhino.
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