Pretoria – Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has met with representatives of private rhino owners to discuss issues of mutual concern around rhino conservation in South Africa.
The representatives included the Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA) and the Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA).
According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, both parties agreed on the need for greater cooperation in battling the challenge faced by rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn.
“Private rhino owners laid bare the detrimental effect poaching has had on private reserves.
“Currently approximately 33 percent of all rhino in South Africa are found in the private sector, with some 6 200 rhino on 330 reserves,” the department said on Wednesday.
One of the areas that was explored in the meeting was the need to explore incentives for private rhino owners to keep rhino to halt further disinvestment.
Private rhino owners indicated that the rise in rhino poaching has led to disinvestment from rhino conservation, owing mainly to the escalating security costs being incurred.
During the meeting, Minister Molewa provided an overview of the current legislative, enforcement and compliance regime.
She also provided progress towards the implementation of the integrated permitting system, among other things.
Also on the agenda was the issue of rhino poaching and the upcoming 17Th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) (COP17).
Both parties stressed the importance on the successful hosting of COP17 and affirmed the need to support South Africa’s ongoing conservation policies.