US$24-million put aside to fight rhino poaching in South Africa

US$24-million put aside to fight rhino poaching in South Africa

Rhinos in South Africa are now probably more than happy to hear that a whopping US$23.7-million (about R255-million in local currency) has been put aside to fight poachers who have killed their folks, and are determined to finish them off.

The money has been made available by US-based Howard G. Buffett Foundation (HGBF), in association with South Africa’s Nature Conservation Trust (NCT) and the South African National Parks (SANParks).

The three-year project will be rolled in the Kruger National Park (KNP), where most of the senseless killings have taken place. KNP is currently home to over 40% of the world’s remaining 22 000 rhinos, the largest single population of rhinos in the world.

An Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) will be established and empowered to use sophisticated detection, tracking equipment and infrastructure on the ground and in the air, the project partners revealed.

Elite canine units and highly-trained ranger teams will also be put in place, as well as improved intelligence gathering and observation and surveillance systems.

These anti-poaching tactics could then be applied in other African regions, where poaching constitutes a vital source of funding for armed groups, the organisers said.

A total of 1 383 rhinos have been poached from KNP since January 2010, part of a larger assault that resulted in 2 368 rhinos poached in South Africa over the past few years.  In some areas of Africa, entire populations of rhino have been eliminated.

(Final editing by Issa Sikiti da Silva). Photo: China.org.cm

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