Seven integrated ‘wildlife zones’ will be introduced across South Africa to protect the endangered rhinoceros population.

By demarcating areas primarily around rhino populations, both wildlife and people living in and around the conservation areas will be protected, said Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy.

“By introducing a zoning approach, the necessary resources can be redirected to areas most in need of support. It furthermore ensures co-operation between the state and private role players and is aligned to the objectives of South Africa’s national integrated strategy to combat wildlife trafficking.”

She added that the initiative prevented borders and boundaries from inhibiting the planning and implementation of actions against rhino poaching.

“The concept is based on multi-party co-operation but will use appropriate technologies to ensure surveillance, early warning and detection, all in an effort to become more pro-active.

“Despite the marked decrease in rhino poaching during the COVID-19 national lockdown, government’s target remains to put an end to rhino poaching. As a key member of the iconic Big Five, we hope that, as our provincial borders open, more people will be able to travel to our national parks and other conservation areas to experience first-hand our natural heritage and see these ancient animals in the wild,” Creecy said.

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