As the holiday season nears, conservationists fear there will be an increase in rhino poaching incidents.
This is based on previous years’ trends, especially this year. So far an increasing number of rhinos are being slaughtered for their horns, adding to concerns in consevations circles.
According to the South African National Parks (SANParks), 71 rhinos had already been killed since the beginning of this year.
Recently, SANParks CEO, David Mabunda, said the figure encompassed fresh and old carcasses, “which have been found in the various parks and nature reserves countrywide”.
The Kruger National Park has been the worst affected, with a reported 46 killings in the past couple of months.
Last year, a total of 146 rhinos were gunned down in the park, which is renowned worldwide for its wildlife diversity. Of these, two were allegedly killed by Lucas Muluzani Baloyi.
Baloyi appeared in the Louis Trichardt Regional Court on Monday on charges of theft, conducting illegal activities in a special nature reserve, restricted activities involving threatened or protected species, without a permit, and for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Baloyi was arrested on June 14 last year, when six park rangers on patrol in Mbandweni, in the park’s Vlakteplaas area, allegedly caught him red-handed while he was hacking off the horn from the carcass of a white rhino.
While trying to flee, a gunfight ensued between him and the rangers. Baloyi was wounded and had to be taken to hospital for treatment.