Premier appoints task team after rhino deaths

Durban - It was a blood day at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park on Thursday with the discovery of six rhino carcasses with their horns hacked off.

Three were found after gunshots were heard the previous night. One was freshly killed while two are believed to have been poached earlier in the week.

The rhino may soon be extinct at that rate. In all of Africa the number of white rhinos and black rhinos is estimated at around 25 000. Credit: EPA

While in the field, rangers discovered two more carcasses thought to be four days old and at a separate site, one rhino was killed but its horn was still intact.

This brings the total number of rhino poached in the province to 113 this year.

Due to the “alarming escalation” of rhino poaching in the province, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Council appointed an anti-rhino poaching task team. This was announced by the Office of the Premier on Thursday.

The task team will conduct a full assessment of the current measures and capacities of the anti-rhino poaching initiatives in the province.

It will comprise representatives from KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife, police, the Office of the Premier, an international policing expert and a legal expert from the Ian Player Foundation.

Their work will include conducting an assessment of the criminal justice processes in relation to the poaching incidents at all levels and also evaluate if the provincial human and logistical resources are sufficient to turn the tide against rhino poaching.

The task team is expected to compile a report with recommendations to the Provincial Executive Council within six months.