While rhino poaching in South Africa and the Kruger National Park has seen declines in 2016 compared with 2015, elephant poaching in the Kruger National Park is on the rise.
Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, said 1054 rhino were poached in 2016 compared with 1175 in the same period for 2015, representing a 10% decline. A total of 662 rhino carcasses were found in the Kruger National Park in 2016 compared with 826 in 2015, representing a 20% decline.
Molewa praised the rangers on the ground for the decline, despite an increase of poaching-related activities. A total of 2883 instances of poaching-related activities were recorded in Kruger National Park, compared with 2 466 recorded in the same period for 2015, an increase of 17%. The activities include poaching camps, contacts, crossings, sightings, tracks and shots fired. “These criminal gangs are armed to the teeth, well-funded and part of transnational syndicates who will stop at nothing to get their hands on rhino horn,” said Molewa.
She added that the interventions being implemented to counter rhino poaching were also used to respond to the emerging threat of elephant poaching. “It is with concern that we report that in 2016, 46 elephants were poached in the Kruger National Park,” said Molewa. SANParks announced the first confirmed elephant poaching in the KNP in well over 10 years in May 2014. Between January and October 2015, 19 elephants had been killed by poachers in the park.
Molewa also reported a decline in the number of White rhino living in the KNP.
“It is clear that more financial resources are required to address this challenge that we are experiencing in terms of both rhino and elephant poaching,” concluded Molewa.