The appeal was made by SANParks general manager for marketing and communications, William Mabasa, during a tour with journalists from local and foreign media houses at the Kruger National Parks in Skukuza on Sunday. He said rhinos were under severe attack and needed to be protected at all costs.
“We are asking you as media to play a role,” said Mabasa.
“You must be worried if there is someone near you driving a Range Rover while he is not working. And you cannot say your neighbor is not a poacher until you know it.”
A total of 197 rhinos have been poached at the Kruger National Park since the beginning of this year, according to SANParks media specialist Ike Paahla. He said poachers were mostly operating as syndicates, adding most of the poached rhinos had died.
The park attracts a lot of visitors as many vehicles were parked near the reception centre on Sunday afternoon. Other visitors were driving around in the bushes and taking pictures of various animals.
The animals spotted by journalists when driving around included a cheetah, klipspringer, rhino and four elephants.
On Monday morning, several monkeys were seen scavenging bags in front of the guest houses. They were apparently looking for anything they could consume for “breakfast”. The animals appeared to be so comfortable they did not run away when workers walked past them.
“We are not worried about these monkeys because they don’t cause any problems here. They are just looking for food,” said one female worker who asked not to be named.
The four-day media tour is expected to end on Wednesday and it will include revelations of the latest technology used to combat rhino poaching.