Cape Town – The South African Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, says since the end of 2015 “rhino poaching figures has relatively stabilized, thanks to the hard work done by all our people and Rangers on the ground”, particularly.
Molewa was presenting the department’s 2016/2017 budget vote policy statement in Parliament this week, saying cooperation with neighbouring countries continues to play a vital role in the implementation of government’s Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros, approved by Cabinet in 2014 and aimed at ensuring the long-term survival of the species.
“We have enhanced cooperation with Mozambique,” Molewa said, “and in 2016, plan to conduct anti-poaching awareness campaigns in a number of East Asian countries”.
The DEA says the following five minimum requirements will be implemented in this financial year to create an environment conducive for rhino conservation in South Africa, and effectively address rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn:
• The adoption and implementation of the National Integrated Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking
• Community empowerment, including the development, adoption and implementation of a Community Empowerment Plan
• Biological management, including the adoption of an African rhino range States African Rhino Conservation Action Plan
• Responsive legislative provisions that are effectively implemented and enforced, including incentives to rhino owners to support continued investment in the conservation of rhino
• Demand management, including information gathering to enhance our knowledge about demand for rhino horn and identifying the most effective interventions to manage demand.
Based on the Cabinet decision, South Africa will not be applying for the opening of a legal, international commercial trade in rhino horn at this coming CITES 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which will be hosted in South Africa from 24 September to 5 October 2016.
SEE: SA rejects trade in rhino horn legalisation
Traveller24 reported earlier that Swaziland conservation authorities accused South Africa of reneging on an agreement to propose the legalization of rhino horn trade, saying the backtrack draws into question South Africa’s stance on the issue.
This after earlier formal documents submitted to CITES showed that 11 SADC nations, including South Africa, agreed on 6 April to support a proposal to trade in rhino horn.
The Minister said that “a total of R15.2m has been allocated to enhance South Africa’s legacy programme of the 17th CoP to CITES and beyond”.
This includes the establishment the Youth and Conservation Programme that will ensure the mobilization and formal integration of the youth in conservation and the biodiversity economy initiatives.
What to read next on Traveller24:
- SA rejects trade in rhino horn legalisation
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- Swaziland accuses SA of backtracking on rhino horn trade