Modise also added that 530 rhino poaching-related cases on court rolls across the country‚ involving 750 accused and 1‚738 charges.
“From January to August 2018 a total of 70 cases‚ involving 163 accused were finalised. The trials have resulted in 93% guilty verdicts‚ translating to 288 years in sentencing‚” he said.
SANParks has 63 south-central and 199 south-western black rhinos in their rhino parks. There were between 427 to 586 black rhinos in the Kruger last year.
“White rhino numbers in the park‚ however‚ continued to decline‚ with the population estimated at between 4‚759 and 5‚532 individuals during 2017. White rhinos‚ unlike black rhinos‚ were affected by the drought – with natural mortalities increasing from 1% to 1.5% during the drought‚ while the birth rate dropped from approximately 9% to 5% one year after the drought.”
South Africa has exported 538 live rhinos since 2014 as part of the requirements of the Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Most (361) were exported to former range states‚ including Botswana‚ Chad‚ Namibia‚ Rwanda and Zambia for zoological purposes and for reintroduction to range states.
Since the Constitutional Court lifted the moratorium on the domestic trade of rhino horns‚ 28 trade permits have been issued.
“In terms of the permits issued‚ 12 permits were granted for the sale of 1‚219 rhino horns‚ while permits were granted to 16 buyers‚” said Modise.