Rhino poachers shift focus to KZN
Rhino poaching syndicates are diverting more killing gangs from the Kruger National Park to the rhino reserves of KwaZulu-Natal, especially the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, which is fast becoming a new focal point in the country’s unrelenting rhino war.
At least 95 rhinos have been killed in KZN so far this year – up almost 20% compared with the same period last year. Nationwide, more than 6 000 rhinos have been killed over the past eight years.
Cedric Coetzee, provincial rhino security manager with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, explained that much tighter security measures in Kruger over the past year had led to a displacement of poaching to other parts of the country, especially KZN.
While the 2 million hectare Kruger reserve contains the largest remaining rhino population in the world, the smaller, 96 000ha Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park contains the highest density of wild white rhinos.
“When security is tightened in one place, as has happened in Kruger, the poachers start to look elsewhere for horns and now a lot of their focus is coming to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.”
Briefing local and foreign journalists in the park at the weekend, Coetzee said rhino-poaching gangs were entering Hluhluwe-Imfolozi almost every day, compared with the situation about 18 months ago, when there were about two or three incursions a week.
Read the full story here: http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/rhino-poachers-shift-focus-to-kzn-2064551
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