Project tar­gets rhino poach­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

A FUNDRAIS­ING cam­paign, aimed at putting more rhino poach­ers in jail, was wel­comed yes­ter­day.

Michael Knight, San­parks head of park plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment, said money raised by the Florid­abased In­ter­na­tional Rhino Fed­er­a­tion would be used to sup­port ef­forts such as teach­ing park em­ploy­ees how to safe­guard ev­i­dence at crime scenes. More rhino were poached – 341 – in the first 10 months of this year than in the whole of last year, which was a record poach­ing year with 333 an­i­mals lost.

The In­ter­na­tional Rhino Fed­er­a­tion project is rais­ing funds for parks in South Africa and Zim­babwe. “We’re los­ing an­i­mals like crazy,” said Knight. “But pros­e­cu­tions are fall­ing way be­hind.”

Knight said rangers would be trained to sup­port po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors. The fed­er­a­tion also plans to dis­trib­ute ba­sic crime scene kits con­tain­ing cam­eras, fin­ger­print­ing ma­te­ri­als and ev­i­dence bags.

Fed­er­a­tion di­rec­tor Susie El­lis said an anony­mous donor had started the fund with $25 000.

“It’s a small project that we hope will have a big im­pact,” she said. The first train­ing ses­sion is set for Fe­bru­ary. – Sapa-ap

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