To protect and conserve rhino in the Waterberg, the security of the area needed to be increased. Doing so would make crime more difficult, not only for rhino poachers and perpetrators of other biodiversity related crimes, but for all criminals.
Last week the country was shocked by fresh news of a further 18 rhinos killed by poachers in Letaba Ranch. Letaba is one of the parks managed by the Limpopo province. The 18 rhinos come on top of a total of 261 rhinos poached to date this year, a dramatic increase on the total of 122 killed last year, and 83 the year before. Poaching appears to be escalating out of control, driven by criminal syndicates in SA and the far east. But the story has another side to it.
by Victoria Crake
Dear Rhino Owners and Members of the Waterberg Nature Conservancy,
I work at Ant’s Nest for Ant and Tessa Baber. We were hit by rhino poachers in December 2011 and they killed one of our white rhino cows together with her eleven month old baby. Despite beefing up security, we were hit again at the end of July this year, when another of our cows was shot.
If you haven't heard the news (and I'm piecing this together from several news sources), 11 people were arrested for their alleged involvement in killing hundreds of rhinos, sawing off their horns, and hiding the bodies: Dr. Karel Toet (Nylstroom Animal Clinic and Limpopo Wildlife); Mariza Toet (Nylstroom Animal Clinic and Limpopo Wildlife); Dr. Manie du Plessis (Nylstroom Animal Clinic); Dawie Groenewald (Out of Africa Adventure Safaris in Polokwane); Sariette Groenewald (Out of Africa Adventure Safaris in Polokwane); Tielman Erasmus (professional hunter); Marthinus Pronk; Nardus Rossouw; Leon van der Merwe; Paul Matomela. They are all out on bail ranging from R5,000 to R1,000,000. Their next court appearance is scheduled for 11 April 2011, more than six months from now!