Call for poach­ing col­lu­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tions

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Larry Bent­ley

THE Inkatha Free­dom Party has called for a na­tion­wide in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween wildlife rangers and poach­ers.

This af­ter seven dead rhi­nos were found in a ra­dius of 800 me­tres in the Hluh­luwe-iM­folozi Park last Wed­nes­day.

‘We are not ac­cus­ing any­one, but we are of the view that such in­ves­ti­ga­tion should be con­ducted in or­der to as­cer­tain whether there is any col­lu­sion be­tween rangers and poach­ers,’ said Has­san Mo­tala, the IFP KZN Pro­vin­cial Spokesper­son on En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs.

‘No one should be spared in the fight to pro­tect rhi­nos, which are South Africa’s key at­trac­tion in mar­ket­ing tourism fa­cil­i­ties to the world.’

He said if rangers are not get­ting enough re­mu­ner­a­tion, they can be cor­rupted.

Well-or­gan­ised crime syn­di­cates, spread­ing money around and buy­ing the ser­vices of gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, are seen to be be­hind the poach­ing ac­cord­ing to the IFP.

If the park is un­der-staffed, Mo­tala asks why smaller precincts within the HiP are not es­tab­lished, which would al­low for bet­ter pa­trolling.

The rhi­nos would have a bet­ter chance of sur­vival as they would be mon­i­tored more closely.

‘Con­sid­er­ing the alarm­ing statis­tics, one would as­sume that se­nior per­son­nel at Ezemvelo would have made it a pri­or­ity to en­sure the safety of the rhi­nos,’ said Mo­tala.

‘Poach­ers are greedy, plus there is a high de­mand in mar­kets for rhino horn.

‘To deal with in­sa­tiable de­mand, we have to raise aware­ness in th­ese mar­kets and make them aware that they are dev­as­tat­ing our bio­di­ver­sity,’ he said.

‘The IFP calls on gov­ern­ment to de­clare poach­ing of rhi­nos as a na­tional dis­as­ter.

‘Also, we urge courts to en­sure that the pun­ish­ment re­flects the sever­ity of the crime and such peo­ple must not be al­lowed to walk away and con­tinue de­stroy­ing our her­itage,’ says Mo­tala.

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