Fears rhino poaching syndicates upping game in Eastern Cape

THERE are fears that sophisticated rhino poaching syndicates are stepping up operations in the Eastern Cape following the finding of three dead rhino at Pumba Game Reserve on Wednesday.

The poached rhino were found less than a month after three others were killed in the park.

Wilderness Foundation marketing manager Cheryl Reynolds said yesterday there was a R50000 reward for any information that could lead to a successful prosecution of the perpetrators.

"We are devastated by the way the poaching continues," she said.

Flyers would be distributed in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday to promote the reward. The foundation was also still offering a R50000 reward regarding the three rhinos killed last month at Pumba, Reynolds said.

Police and conservationists yesterday admitted they were concerned for the wellbeing of rhino populations in the province.

Chimpembere Rhino Foundation founder Brent Cook – who has campaigned for years to save rhinos from poachers – said the latest slaughter was "very worrying".

Information had been received that syndicates were going to start targeting the Eastern Cape more, he said. "Everybody needs to be extra vigilant now," he said.

Cook, however, admitted preventing poaching was difficult as the syndicates would stop at nothing to get their hands on the highlyvalued horns that sell for huge sums of money in the Far East. - David Macgregor

  • South Africa yesterday signed an anti-poaching agreement with Mozambique, a major transit route for rhino horn trafficked to Asia, and a prime source of illegal hunters.
The two states agreed to share intelligence and jointly develop anti- poaching technology and education programmes, AFP reported.