South Africa is home to approximately 22000 Rhino making up 70% of Africa’s, and 80% of the world’s Rhinos. The Kruger National Park, particularly in the Skukuza area, has been scouraged by increasing Rhino poaching this year. In a bid to raise awareness and improve efforts to protect the endangered species, Zuma joined by Ms Edna Molewa, minister of environmental affairs pioneered the day as the first ever presidential visit to the park.
Activities began as early as 5am in the park, where the president and the media witnessed the capturing of a Rhino which will become a surrogate mother to opharned rhinos. This was followed by a visit to the ranger’s guard of honour where Zuma laid a wreath to honour rangers and those who have died in the line of duty.
The president also officially launched the Joint Operation Centre, which will head all security measures to protect the Rhino. Community members from areas surrounding the park gathered at the Skukuza staduim for a presidential address on Rhino pouching.
Speaking to community members, Zuma revealed he will be handing over anti-rhino pouching equipment to SAN Parks, department of environmental affairs and Mozambique to provide more support to prevent Rhino pouching. “Many of you here know who the poachers are”, said Zuma, speaking to the crowd gathered under a tent. He urged them to take a stand against rhino poaching by reporting criminal activity. He also said that efforts to improve job opportunities for community members had to be made by SAN Parks and promised that government is working on strategies to improve their lifes.
Program director, Mr Jerry Ndou, Limpopo MEC for Public Works, Roads and infrastructure referred to the campaign as #RhinoPoachersMustFall while giving a vote of thanks to end the program.