AS THE war still rages against rhino poachers‚ experts are warning about the dangers faced by other animals to meet local and international demand for animal products.
Parliament is set to hear about the SANParks fight against poachers in South Africa’s national parks today‚ but what they’re unlikely to hear about is the danger faced by other animals‚ such as the cases of donkey and lion being poached in recent weeks.
With an estimated 5‚000 rhinos having been killed in the last decade and the official number for 2016 expected to be just over 900‚ MPs will hear from SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni on the efforts to curb wildlife crimes‚ in particular the poaching and killing of rhino’s for the 2016/2017 year.
“The briefing is on the integrated rhino management programme and its implementation and other SANParks related matters‚” said SANParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla.
However‚ the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Adam Pires said despite the concerns about rhino poaching‚ the organisation was troubled by the increases in the poaching of lions‚ vultures‚ pangolin‚ smuggling and illegal trade of reptiles.
He said the poaching of lions and vultures were for perceived medicinal purposes‚ with the poisoning of vultures being “extremely serious and devastating given the small populations of vultures“.
Pires said despite tackling criminal syndicates and providing more education to communities‚ he believed that the fight against poaching was hampered by the perceived “low risk of detection versus high profits or rewards for trading illegally in wildlife“.
“When we start levelling this out we will be heading in the right direction. Although some cases have seen good sentencing there are many more other cases they don’t get the necessary attention‚” he said.
The South African Predators Association’s Carla van der Vyver said the industry had seen a big increase in poaching incidents‚ with particularly lions being targeted.
“I believe it is to meet the demand for the local market. They were very specific in going for the heads and paws. If it was for the international market‚ I believe they would’ve utilised more of the carcasses‚” said Van der Vyver.
She said the association was concerned that as levels of lions dwindle as a result of poaching‚ other predators might also be targeted.- TM Digital