11 April 2016
The DA is devastated by the discovery of the carcass of a young female white rhino on a farm outside of Kimberley on Friday last week. One rhino death is one too many in the fight to save this endangered species from extinction.
In the above case, which is apparently under investigation by the Hawks, it has been reported that the rhino was found with a bullet wound to the front right shoulder and appears to have died approximately a week before she was found, as her body was in a decomposed state. Her horns were still intact.
When the process to relocate over 200 rhino from the Kruger Park to the Northern Cape first commenced over two years ago, the DA proposed that provincial government establish a task team, made up of all relevant law enforcement organizations, as well as public and private stakeholders, to ensure that sufficient measures are put in place to protect the rhino. We subsequently also called for funding towards rhino safety initiatives in the province to be prioritized.
To date, however, the department has not reported on rhino specific safety initiatives in the province.
An increased rhino population in the Northern Cape necessitates a greater demand for escalated policing by compliance and enforcement officers to ensure the protection of this species. At the same time, it also calls for the development of safety regulations that must be implemented by the owners of the game farms on which the rhinos reside.
The DA will write to the chairperson of the legislature portfolio committee, Fufe Makatong, requesting that a meeting be scheduled with the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation in order to discuss the matter of rhino safety in the province and also to seek clarity on the extent of policing of the game farms housing rhinos, by the department.
We all have a responsibility to save the rhino and every possible effort must be made by government, in conjunction with the private sector, to keep the rhino population in the Northern Cape safe.
DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson of Agriculture
082 380 2128
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387