Lack of resources hinders KNP's fight against poaching

The Kruger National Park’s Glenn Phillips says that resources have been diverted from several operations and into anti-poaching operations in an effort to deal with the scourge.

The Kruger National Park. Picture: @SANParksKNP/Twitter

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK - Lack of resources continue plaguing the Kruger National Parks (KNP) in their fight against animal poaching.

The park says that fighting the scourge would not only help the park, but the country as well by conserving the rhinos and elephant, among others.

These two species have become victims of poaching at different parks, both private and national parks.

The Kruger National Park’s Glenn Phillips says that resources have been diverted from several operations and into anti-poaching operations, in an effort to deal with the scourge.

"We have sadly become more militant in our approach to poaching, which would unfortunately have a major impact in future," he said.

That was in response to yet another three rhinos being killed and dehorned during the weekend at the park.

The suspects arrested in connection with the poaching appeared in the Secunda magistrates court on Monday and had their case remanded to next week.

Environmental Minister Edna Molewa earlier this year announced that at least 400 rhinos have been poached this year alone.

Unfortunately, Phillips as an executive manager to the park also has to deal with some internal challenges elevating the scourge, as regional ranger Rodney Landela is now undergoing trial, after being apprehended for his alleged hand in aiding poachers.

He was arrested in July last year.

According to the 2014 census conducted at the park, only 9,000 rhinos remain as apposed to 15,000 a decade ago.

Spokesperson Ike Phaahla says that despite the ones poached, scores of others have been moved to an undisclosed location for their safety.

"There has been another census conducted and the minister would be responsible for announcing the outcome," he said.

The cut open fence between the park and the Sabie Game Park in Mozambique is also not helping in fighting the crime, something which section ranger Neels Van Wyk says that his team is working hard on.

"Sometimes poachers would stand inside the Sabie Park in Mozambique and cross over to the Kruger National Park and that’s where the cross border operation starts," he said.

Mozambique’s Sabie Game Farm is protected by Dyck Advisory Group (DAG), which looks at over 40,000 hectares.

The group’s Tiaan Kleynhans says his side of the fence is doing all it can, with the little resources it has to keep hunters out.

"We only have 20 rangers on site for guarding a 400km border line, and believe we could do better if resources were at our disposal," said Kleynhans.

At the same time, elephants are also killed and dehorned on the northern side of the SANPark's Kruger National Park situated in Limpopo.

Phaahla says that officials are also working on dealing with the scourge.