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Poachers 'abandon' national parks in 2022, Creecy

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The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, says there has been a decline in poaching numbers in national parks as a result of the "relentless fight" against rhino poaching.

She said in a statement that in 2022, 124 rhinos were killed in the Kruger National Park, with no rhino poached in any other national park.

"The number of rhinos poached in the Kruger National Park represents a 40% decrease compared with those killed for their horn 2021," Minister Creecy said.

"Unfortunately the poaching threat has shifted to KwaZulu-Natal, which lost 244 rhinos to poaching last year. Of these, 228 were killed in provincial parks and 16 in privately owned reserves," she said.

The Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park was specifically targeted, Minister Creecy added.

She said in total across the country private rhino owners lost 86 rhinos.

"The steady decline in rhino poaching in national parks is related to the relentless war that has been waged by our fearsome anti-poaching machinery as well as a comprehensive dehorning programme." said Creecy.

Meanwhile, an Eastern Cape private game reserve suffered its first loss in 2023, after two rhinos, Bonnie and Clyde, were killed and dehorned last week.

In a post on Facebook, the owners of Schotia Safaris Private Game Reserve said that the only thing that can be done to secure the future of the country's rhino population is to educate people and to change the law in South Africa, and other countries.

"Make the sale of rhino horn legal internationally. This will decrease the value of the horn and increase the value of the animal," they implored in the post.