On World Rhino Day, conservationist Tim Neary joins 702's Refiloe Mpakanyane to examine the history of anti-poaching efforts in South Africa, home to nearly 80% of the globe's population.
In 2018, with 769 poaching incidents recorded, figures showed a decline for the fourth year running. But according to Save the Rhino, this could be attributed either to the effectiveness of anti-poaching operations or to poachers experiencing greater difficulty locating their prey with significantly fewer rhinos surviving in the wild.
In August, the Department of Environmental Affairs announced that 318 animals had been poached in the first six months of 2019.
Neary says looking at the latest figures, the most concerning is that the rhino population is in a negative growth in terms of extrapolating future growth from the number of females killed.
He'd like to see Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy come up with a clear plan.
I'd like to see minister Creecy come out and say this is the programme we're undertaking.— Tim Neary, Nature conservationist
Neary acknowledges the value of anti-poaching campaigns, but says combating the problem boils down to effective policing
With the onus seemingly on non-governmental and private organisations to lead the anti-poaching fight however, are the "billions of Rand" raised being used effectively?
First of all, look at how many cents in the Rand is disappearing into the actual projects? What is actually having to be bought with that money and then what is the achievement?— Tim Neary, Nature conservationist
I think the achievement in a case like this is not the reducing of the numbers of rhino poached - my belief is that the achievement would be to turn around and say we had X number of rhino poached, we knew that there were seven organisations and we've got five of them in jail.— Tim Neary, Nature conservationist
To this date we still haven't put away any of the kingpins. They are still either out on bail, out on appeal, whatever - but we aren't able to seemingly infiltrate the kingpins.— Tim Neary, Nature conservationist
In response to a caller from Midrand who questions the commitment of the state, Neary agrees that it doesn't seem to have the political will or resources to effectively combat rhino poaching.
South Africa talks well, but we don't deliver.— Tim Neary, Nature conservationist
We've never cleared perlemoen poaching. Are we ever going to clear rhino poaching?— Tim Neary, Nature conservationist
To listen to the conversation with Neary, click on the link below: