Rhino kingpins to be put behind bars
South African authorities are beginning to dismantle the sophisticated criminal gangs guilty of killing rhinos.
25 September 2012 | JeVanne Gibbs
This is according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for Nature’s African rhino programme manager Dr. Joseph Okori concurred by saying “Putting powerful kingpins behind bars for 10 or 20 years will send a strong message to others not to engage in criminal behaviour,” he said.
Under the theme ‘Five Rhino Species Forever’, World Rhino Day on Saturday aimed to mobilise South Africans to take a stand against rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn.
Acting head of communications of the South African National Parks Paul Daphne said the day highlighted the efforts that are being made to fight the scourge of rhino poaching around the world and reduce the demand for rhino horn.
“It is indeed worrying that we are still losing such a high number of rhinos but the increasing number of successful arrests and steeper sentences such as the combined 58 years imprisonment imposed on two suspected rhino poachers recently is encouraging.”
Gauteng Department of Environmental Affairs spokesman Albi Modise said the South African government views the illegal killing of rhinos in a very serious light and its commitment in addressing rhino poaching remains unwavering.
“It is clear we need to continue working with all stakeholders if this war on rhino poaching is to be won.
It is clear that this is an organised crime. And in dealing with organised criminals we need inputs and action from all South Africans in an organised manner.”
The latest statistics on rhinos poached in the country this year stands at 388, with the Kruger National Park having lost a total of 241 rhinos since the beginning of the year.
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