By Akhona Matshoba and Shafiek Tassiem
HOEDSPRUIT – Rhino poaching is on the rise again in South Africa since the government loosened coronavirus restrictions, following a year-long lull due to the pandemic, wildlife parks say.
The strict limits on travel, including international travel, imposed in March last year had the happy side effect of keeping poachers at bay. In 2020, 394 rhinos were poached, 30% fewer than the year before and the lowest yearly tally since 2011.
But then South Africa began easing international travel restrictions in November.
“Since November, December last year and into 2021, this landscape and particularly Kruger National Park has been experiencing serious numbers of rhino poaching incidents,” said Jo Shaw, the Africa Rhino Lead for WWF International Network.
She declined to say how many incidents had occurred.
“There is a very real and realised threat as poaching pressure has increased…