Comment & Public Hearings: Rhino Poaching
RHINO POACHING: A THREAT TO HARD-WON POPULATION INCREASES ACHIEVED BY CONSERVATION AUTHORITIES: A CALL FOR RESPONSES AND SOLUTIONS TO ASSIST GOVERNMENT TO STRENGTHEN ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE AND THE FUTURE SUSTAINABILITY OF OUR RHINO POPULATION
Have your say in highlighting the solutions in South Africa and Africa
Parliament invites you to be a solution in ensuring the future of our rhino population
Rhino poaching across Africa has risen sharply in the past few years. This has threatened to reverse the hard-won population increases achieved by conservation authorities during the 20th century. Until relatively recently, thanks to law enforcement efforts, poaching of rhino had been kept under control and held at relatively low levels. However, from 2008 onwards, rhino poaching has escalated at an alarming rate. Another factor, which saw an increase in the demand of rhino horn into the illegal markets, is the likely leakage of stored rhino horn from various private and government stockpiles, with no indication of decreasing. There has been a dramatic spike in rhino poaching incidents in South Africa from January 2008 to date.
The modus operandi being utilised both locally and internationally in the illegal killing of rhino and the smuggling of their horns in recent years clearly indicates the increasing involvement of highly organised and well structured crime syndicates that are operating in a lucrative international enterprise. In addition to the loss of horns through increased poaching, concerns have also been raised regarding ‘leakage’ of South African horns onto the illegal international markets from stocks in the public and private sector. These syndicates are also involved in the ‘legal/unethical’ hunting of rhino in the country.
The concern for conservation authorities is that should poaching continue to escalate at the current rates, unabated, one could reach the situation where numbers start declining to a point when more animals are being poached than are born into the rhino population – as has been experienced in other rhino range states in the recent past.
A properly structured and concerted effort by government, and other relevant role-players, is therefore urgently needed to address this problem, as it poses a significant threat not just to the rhino population, but also to the reputation, eco-tourism industry and public image of South Africa.
The Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs (the Committee) intends holding public hearings on FINDING SOLUTIONS to the rhino-poaching crisis in South Africa and Africa.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (the Department), and other relevant government state holders will commence the hearings by explaining the current poaching situation in relation to the achievements and challenges. Thereafter, public commentary by presenters of selected submissions will be given a space to provide insights into:
▪ The strength and weaknesses of the current initiatives to address the problem;
▪ The efficacy of current environmental governance structures to address the problem;
▪ Whether South Africa has the requisite combination of expertise, sufficient and sustained financial capacity, and well-performing institutional and regulatory mechanisms to maintain an effective and balanced intervention to rhino poaching; and
▪ Recommendations to address specific challenges and responses of the present regime pertinent to the practitioner, regulator and policy-maker.
The Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs in the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa will be holding public hearings on Rhino poaching: a threat to hard-won population increases achieved by conservation authorities. The Portfolio Committee invites all interested stakeholders to submit written comments on the subject matter not later than 20 January 2012. Public hearings are targeted for Thursday 26 January 2012. Specific dates and times will be provided after the deadline has been met.
Kindly note that the Portfolio Committee Water and Environmental Affairs retains the right to regulate its own proceedings, including the right to decide whether to allow oral representations in respect of any submission, and the format, procedure and duration of any oral representation.
All written comments appropriately referenced as ‘’ Rhino poaching: a threat to hard-won population increases achieved by conservation authorities’’ should be addressed to Ms Tyhileka Madubela, Committee Section, Parliament of RSA, PO Box 15, Cape Town 8000. Electronic submissions can be made at: email@example.com or hand-delivered at Room 0/88, 3rd Floor, 90 Plein Street, Cape Town. For enquiries, contact Ms Madubela on 021 403 3713 or 083 304 9586.
Issued by Adv. Johnny de Lange, M.P.: Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs on 11 December 2012.