In the matter of just a few short hours early this morning, the number of rhinos lost to poaching here in the Eastern Cape this year more than doubled from three to seven.
NMBT CEO, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism CEO Mandlakazi Skefile said; “In spite of all that is being done in the Eastern Cape and nationally to curb the slaughter of rhino, it is with shock that I have learnt that four rhinos from Lalibela Game Reserve were found dead this morning. Lalibela is a member of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism. As an organisation and on behalf of all our other members and stakeholders, we sympathise with Lalibela. NMBT welcomes the investigation of the crime by the Hawks and other law enforcement bodies. I trust that the perpetrators will be brought to book soon.
“This area and our province rely heavily on our Big Seven as a major tourist attraction. As a community, that benefit from the many tourists who come to our shores to view these majestic creatures of the wild, we need to stand vigilant and fight for these helpless animals by supporting the various anti-poaching initiatives as poaching effects everyone in the long run. According to statistics from the provincial Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, 11 rhino were killed in the Eastern Cape by poachers. Including the four at Lalibela, seven have been poached in the province this year. We need to stand together and collectively, support those entities losing their valuable wildlife and the law enforcement agencies.
Da MPL John Cupido said; “So far none of the rhino lost to poaching in the Eastern Cape this year have been on state reserves, but this lucky streak will not last. Private reserves are generally far better resourced as far as security is concerned.
“This needs to be a warning and a lesson to the MEC of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mcebisi Jonas, that if we do not jack up our Green Scorpions (the compliance and enforcement unit), we will start seeing astronomical losses in our state reserves once the poaching syndicates target them.
“The Green Scorpions are staffed with dedicated rangers, but is severely under-equipped. An immediate concern is the unit’s lack of vehicles. What good is a ranger to a rhino if the ranger cannot follow up on tips, leads and patrol the areas inhabited by rhino? What good is a ranger to a rhino, if he and backup cannot even get to the rhino when a threat has been identified?
“I will be submitting parliamentary questions to the MEC to ascertain as to exactly how under-equipped the unit is and how the MEC intends to correct this problem and increase security of the increasingly vulnerable rhino population of this province.”
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2012/09/shock-at-lalibela-rhino-poaching/