Cape Town - The department of tourism says it does not under any circumstances tolerate the practice of poaching, as purported in a fake news report.
The fake report released on Tuesday, 15 August has eluded that the Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa approves of rhino poaching.
In response the department has issued a statement calling out the false and irresponsible information.
READ: SA sees 'slight decrease' in rhino poaching in 2017
'Be mindful of the proliferation of fake news'
It says, "We state categorically that the Minister did not and could never have expressed any views remotely justifying the criminal and barbaric practice of rhino poaching. The Minister condemns rhino poaching as she does all other forms of animal cruelty."
Xasa in turn cautioned the public to be mindful of the proliferation of fake news websites and other platforms that "peddle untruths intended to confuse and cause harm - rather than inform the public".
"Rhinos are an important part of our national and cultural heritage and must be protected for the benefit of current and future generations. Working together with civil society and communities and the Department of Environmental Affairs - continues to register and fight for success against poachers."
READ: Vietnam NGO calls on SA government to shut down rhino horn auction
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) released an update on the status of rhino poaching in SA for the last two quarters in July, with data showing a slight decrease in poaching nationally.
SEE: SA sees 'slight decrease' in rhino poaching in 2017
Covering the period January through March 2017, and then April through June 2017, a total of 529 rhino have been poached, compared to 542 in the same period for 2016, representing a decrease of 13 rhinos.
Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa confirmed 243 rhino carcasses were found in Kruger between January and the end of June 2017, compared to 354 in the same period in 2016, representing "a decrease of 34%".
What to read next on Traveller24:
- #WildlifeWednesday: Namaqua Chameleon
- Come join our #SAHeritage twitter chat on 18 August
- UPDATE: Kruger to implement new ID control access