National 10.8.2016 11:22 am

Churches to pray for Kruger Park staff and wildlife

A conservationist takes blood samples, 29 July 2014, in the Kruger National park. Conservationists need to perform game captures to collect important statistics about the health of their animals. Picture: Alaister Russell

A conservationist takes blood samples, 29 July 2014, in the Kruger National park. Conservationists need to perform game captures to collect important statistics about the health of their animals. Picture: Alaister Russell

Kruger National Park management said they welcomed the support to help stop rhino poaching and related wildlife crimes.

Churches in communities around the Kruger National Park (KNP) are set to host a special service as part of efforts to combat wildlife crime, especially rampant rhino poaching, SA National Parks (SANParks) said on Wednesday.

According to SANParks, the KNP will be coming together with local churches from the park’s neighbouring communities on Saturday, August 13, at the Skukuza soccer field to pray for the protection of wildlife and the rangers and to condemn wildlife crime in general.

“This gesture of goodwill by our local churches is a good example of the fact that there is room for anybody to actively take part in the fight against the killing of our precious wildlife,” said KNP managing executive Glenn Phillips.

KNP management said they welcomed the support to help stop the poaching of the park’s rhino and elephant populations.

Leading the prayers will be well-known author and pastor Dr Elijah Maswanganyi, along with other church ministers.

According to the statement, there will be specific prayers for the “protection of the wildlife, protection of the antipoaching teams and security forces” and “prayer for the welfare of the organisation”.

“We take this opportunity to invite everybody who can make it to Skukuza, SANParks staff members, and members of the public to join the session on Saturday,” the statement said.

“However, most importantly, to break their silence because withholding of information on wildlife crime does a lot of harm for us as society. We cannot continue to protect criminals in our society who are selfishly enriching themselves at the expense of all of us by wiping off our natural heritage to the detriment of our future generations. With tourism being one of the country’s economic drivers, high prevalence of poaching which may lead to extinction of species can have a negative effect on those that rely on the wildlife for employment. Tourists who come to this country for wildlife will stop coming and people will lose their jobs whilst our country’s economy will be negatively affected,” said Phillips.

– ­African News Agency (ANA)

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