Call for poaching collusion investigations
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.