Pretoria — Cabinet has condemned the poaching of more than 200 rhinos in parts of the country, saying this act poses a threat in the conversation of rhinos in the country.
Following its meeting on Wednesday, cabinet also called on all South Africans to be vigilant and co-operate with the law enforcement authorities to ensure that all those implicated in the poaching were brought to book as soon as possible.
“These killings are posing a threat to the strides the country has made in rhino conservation over the years,” government spokesperson, Themba Maseko, told a media briefing.
The rhino population in South Africa was close to extinction in the early 1960s. However, by the end of 2007 the country had conserved 35 percent of Africa’s black rhino and 93 percent of Africa’s white rhino.
Rhino horn has no proven medicinal value, yet its illegal trade continues internationally.
Horns can fetch up to R429 000 per kilogram on the black market. Each horn can weight around 8kg.
The biggest destination for the horns is east and south-east Asia, where they are believed to have medicinal properties
“We welcome the arrest and prosecution of the criminals who are implicated in this act of thuggery and cruelty against the rhinos,” Maseko said.
He added that government supported all efforts by civil society, such as LeadSA, to raise awareness about rhino poaching.
“We believe that all South Africans have a role to play fighting the rhino poachers,” said Maseko.