Environment Minister of South Africa Edna Molewa on 12 August 2014 announced plan to curb illegal hunts of rhinos for their horn. Under the plan to save rhinos from the poachers, about 500 rhinos of Kruger National Park would be evacuated to safer places, where the poaching activity is less.
The step was taken in the backdrop of the rise in incidents of illegal poaching of African rhinos that increased from 13 in 2003 to 1004 in 2013, despite the deployment of soldiers throughout the vast nature reserve to protect them. As per officials in 2014 itself, around 630 rhinos have been killed in the country of which 408 were killed in Kruger.
The plan of relocation would help in creation of rhino strongholds and allow increasing total rhino population of South Africa. This initiative of the environment ministry of South Africa will be supported by the South African government’s Security Cluster. The security cluster will work on tougher penalties for those caught illegally hunting rhinos.
Rhino Population in South Africa
About 80 percent of African rhinos are found in South Africa and each rhino weighs more than a tonne. Kruger National Park is a home to about 8400 to 9600 white rhinos and around 2000 black rhinos are left. As per estimations, in 1960s the population of black rhinos across Africa was about 65000 that has decimated to such a low level within five to six decades.
Reason for which rhinos are poached
The rhinos across the world are hunted for their horns although international trade of rhino trade has been illegal since 1977. Rhino horns are in high demand in some Asian countries like China, as they are used for traditional medicine as well as a symbol of wealth.
If you have any Question/Point on the above information, please ask/discuss it in the Current Affairs Group
When: 12 August 2014