In an effort to curb Rhino poaching in South Africa, seven Integrated Wildlife Zones are being introduced across poaching hot spots in the country.
Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Barbara Creecy said that by identifying key areas around the country’s rhino populations, wildlife in the area, as well as people living in and around conservation areas, will be protected.
These protected areas are similar to the Integrated Protection Zones previously set up within national parks and provincial reserves.
The minister says that the introduction of these Zones forms part of ongoing efforts to protect the world’s largest black and white rhino populations.
“By introducing a zoning approach, the necessary resources can be redirected to areas most in need of support. It furthermore ensures cooperation between the state and private role players and is aligned to the objectives of South Africa’s National Integrated Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking,” the Minister said.
She added that the initiative will prevent borders and other boundaries from impeding actions aimed at stopping rhino poaching and the smuggling of rhino horn.
“The concept is based on multi-party cooperation but will ensure the use of appropriate technologies to ensure surveillance, early warning and detection -- all in an effort to become more pro-active.”
As South Africa joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Rhino Day 2020, Creecy has applauded the union of key role-players who have joined the national government in their fight against rhino poaching using new technologies.
Peace Parks Foundation supports this initiative with funding from the US Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the Dutch, Swedish and UK People’s Postcode Lotteries.
The Minister said that the department is proud to partner with Peace Parks Foundation and all government and non-governmental organisations that will be involved in this important initiative.
“Despite the marked decrease in rhino poaching during the COVID-19 national lockdown, government’s target remains an end to rhino poaching. As a key member of the iconic Big Five, we hope that as our provincial borders open, more people will be able to travel to our national parks and other conservation areas to experience first-hand our natural heritage and see these ancient animals in the wild,” Creecy concluded