The following is an excerpt from Wildlife Extra:
' We have declared war on poachers' says Minister Sisulu
April 2011. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had been asked by South African National Parks (SANParks) to play a strategic role in the protection of South African National Parks, especially the Kruger National Park. The SANDF deployed to the Kruger where the park borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe at the beginning of April 2011.
333 rhinos killed in South Africa in 2010
A total of 333 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa in 2010, including ten critically endangered black rhinos, according to national park officials. The yearly total is the highest ever experienced in South Africa and nearly three times the 2009 figure when 122 rhinos were killed in the country. An additional five rhinos have been lost to poaching since the New Year.
146 rhinos killed in the Kruger in 2009
Kruger National Park, the world famous safari destination, was hardest hit losing 146 rhinos to poaching in 2010, authorities said. The park is home to the largest populations of both white and black rhinos in the country. Rhino poaching across Africa has risen sharply in the past few years, threatening to reverse hard-won population increases achieved by conservation authorities during the 20th century.
The South African Minister of Defence, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, has congratulated SANDF for arresting four alleged poachers in the Kruger National Park. The Mozambican nationals were found in possession of hunting rifle, binoculars, axe and cell phones. They will appear at Skukuza Magistrate Court.
"We congratulate the SANDF members for arresting poachers. It has been 15 days since they deployed into the Park and we can see the results already. We will continue to work with the law enforcement agencies to secure our borders and to deal with rhino poaching", said Minister Sisulu.
"Our national parks are major assets, and we will protect them for the future and those who pose any threats to our animals will meet the full might of the law. We have declared war with poachers in all our parks," added Minister Sisulu.
The SANDF is currently deployed along the Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho borders. At the end of the financial year 2012/13 the SANDF will cover the entire over 4471 kilometres of land between South Africa and Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Lesotho.
Photo courtesy of WildlifeExtra