An elite group of government and private environmental professionals have formed a task team to combat further rhino poaching amid fears that syndicates operating nationally are based in Port Elizabeth. The Green Scorpions, the National Wildlife Reaction Unit, the Port Elizabeth organized crime unit, SA National Parks and 12 private game reserves forming part of the Indalo Group are working together in an attempt to curb rhino poaching on reserves across the Eastern Cape. For the past three months game reserves in the province have been put on high alert in fear that rhino poaching syndicates will strike again.
The task team is investigating the recent slaughter of a 14-year-old rhino cow on Kwantu Game Reserve, 80 km from Port Elizabeth, over the Easter weekend. The cow’s death led to its year-old calf being killed by a pride of lions less than two days after its mother was slaughtered for her horns. Green Scorpions deputy director Jaap Pienaar said the recent poaching attack had been expected, as the Eastern Cape was the only province not targeted by the syndicates since the beginning of the year. The Green Scorpions, who are now working with the new crack squad known as the National Wildlife Reaction Unit, will specifically tackle ongoing rhino poaching, and other matters relating to care of the environment.
It is estimated that one rhino is killed every 41 hours somewhere in South Africa
Rhino pair in Port Elizabeth, SA (Credit: Matthias Maddux)
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