SANParks has issued a response to refute recent media claims that the dropping of the fence between Kruger and Limpopo National Parks (as part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park agreement) is to blame for the increase in rhino poaching incidents. It says that a fence would not present a barrier to would-be poachers and adds that the area where the fence has been dropped is not where the highest number of rhino are poached.
“The area where the fence was dropped over 10 years ago, an area about 40km north of Shingwedzi, is not where the park has suffered the highest number of rhino poaching incidents since the scourge began in 2008. The fact is that the highest number of rhino poached is in the southern part of the park where the fence is still intact,” says SANParks. “It is equally important to note that the fence that was removed in 2004 and also had no security feature and was a simple five-foot high cable fence.”
SANParks says blaming the removal of the fence is a simplification of a complex problem that requires a multi-pronged approach to address the entire illicit trafficking chain. “It is further of importance to note, that as a result of the Peace Parks initiative, over R640 million is being made available for developing the Mozambique component of the Transfrontier Park until 2022. Amongst others, the funding includes support for infrastructure development, socio-economic development (which constitutes a rural development and resettlement programme to move close to 8 000 people away from the core Transfrontier Park to areas more suitable for sustainable livelihoods) as well as park management and anti-poaching operations. Without the existence of the Transfrontier Park, investments at this scale and level would simply not have been possible,” says SANParks.