A white rhino mother and her calf walk at the waters edge of a dam in a park in the Northwest Province. 010313 Picture: Karen Sandison

Cape Town - The fence between the Kruger National Park and Mozambique should be reinstated in an attempt to reduce the rampant poaching of rhino, the SANParks board told Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

The recommendation comes as rhino poaching hit what is believed to be a new high, with 24 animals killed in a single week. This brings the total number killed this year to at least 146.

But according to the website Rhino War News by Tim Condon, this is an under-count of five because the official figure of 12 for KwaZulu-Natal this year should be 17.

If the current killing rate continues, South Africa stands to lose more than 900 rhinos this year, and if the rate of last week’s slaughter continues, the 2013 total will be well over 1 000.

Molewa is in Bangkok, Thailand, attending the two-week 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), where South Africa is having to fend off a proposal by Kenya to “up-list” the classification of rhino that will significantly increase the stringency of trade restrictions on products, including the export of legal rhino hunting trophies.

South Africa argues this will have some negative repercussions for rhino conservation, partly because private landowners, who own some 25 percent of the rhino population, will lose an incentive to conserve the species.

Molewa confirmed that SANParks had asked for the fence between the Kruger National Park and Mozambique to be reinstated, but said an analysis of the situation was needed before a decision could be made. - Cape Argus