The CEO of South African National Parks, Dr David Mabunda, announced on 21 January 2010 that the fight against poaching is heating up with the recent arrest of more suspected poachers in the Kruger National park. He further announced that with these successes has also come the sad news of more rhinos continuing to be poached across the country.

South Africa has a problem and the poachers are coming closer to home. We could blame it on the bad economy and job losses, but, local poachers are not being paid well! Are the end-of-the-line markets using people as cheap labour to get the job done? It can’t be that can it? The risk if caught is too high, so why does it keep happening? They are not ordinary petty criminals, these poachers seem to be members of well-resourced syndicates and are also involved in chilling crimes like human trafficking, arms smuggling and drug trafficking. This ‘new’ type of poaching is serious and we need to all become aware of the extent of these crimes.

There have been about 46 arrests made since 2008 and as investigations continue, it is predicted that more arrests will be made soon. So each game reserve is left to defend its own piece of conserved Africa while the battle continues and the numbers of poached rhino increases. Within the first two weeks of 2010, 14 rhino were lost to poaching.

Those of us you live in game reserves and those of you who visit to view our wildlife should keep reporting any suspicious incidents, movement or behavior of people in parks, as well as those dealing with rhino horn, the more the authorities know, the better.

To those task teams, I thank you, to everyone involved is stopping the slaying of rhino for their horns, I am truly grateful. To the families who have lost loved ones whilst anti-poaching, please know I am sorry for your loss and applaud the anti-poaching units’ bravery and dedication.

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