Project targets rhino poachers
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