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South Africa to evacuate hundreds of rhinos from Kruger Park

South Africa to evacuate hundreds of rhinos from Kruger Park

"We made a decision on this issue of their displacement," Minister Edna Molewa declared on Tuesday, confirming the decision to capture and send hundreds of these animals to other reserves in the country or abroad.

The authorities could "relocate up to 500" animals, Sam Ferreira, a scientist member of the South African National Parks (Sanparks), told him at a press conference.

"We expect to catch six to eight individuals a day during the less hot months," explained Markus Hofmeyer, director of veterinary services at Sanparks.

The labor and anesthesia alone will cost about a thousand euros ($ 1,300) for each specimen moved. Transportation costs could skyrocket that sum if helicopters were needed, according to Hofmeyer.

The rhino population in the Kruger is between 8,400 and 9,600, according to the latest count from 2013.

Rhino killings by poachers soared from 13 in 2007 to 1,004 last year, while 370 were killed in the first six months of 2014.

In order to remain inconspicuous, hunters often use anesthetics instead of weapons to immobilize animals. They then rip off their horns with an ax. The animal later awakens and dies after a long agony due to its injuries.

Poaching became widespread in the late 2000s due to exploding demand for rhino horn, particularly in Vietnam and China.

Horn powder is sold at a golden price on the black market of Asian medicine, since different virtues are attributed to it, never scientifically proven.

Until now, South Africa had deployed military assets in the park to deal with poachers, mostly from Mozambique.
But the scale of the massacre pushed the government to study other means.

The displacement of these placid herbivores, which can weigh more than a ton - and are therefore easy to kill - is only one point in the plan to protect the species announced Tuesday by Minister Molewa.

The fight against poaching will intensify and intelligence services will infiltrate to dismantle the networks. In the long term, the government wants to create lasting conditions for the protection of natural areas, with a greater involvement of local populations in the economic project of the parks.

Since the beginning of the year, 62 illegal hunters have been arrested in South Africa. On July 23, a court handed down a record 77-year prison sentence against a South African for killing three young rhinos.

The Kruger Park is the largest and most visited of South Africa's natural parks. In its two million hectares, there are all the endemic animals of the region, among them the "Big Five": lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and rhinos.

For now, the elephant massacres in East Africa and Mozambique, for ivory, have not affected the Kruger. But at least two elephant skeletons with their tusks pulled out were found in the north of the park, the closest area to Mozambique.

Terra
http://noticias.terra.com.pe/


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