In response to today's announcement by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation that it will donate $23.7 million to South Africa National Parks (SANParks) to combat rhino poaching in Kruger National Park, the largest-known contribution of its kind, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Crawford Allan, wildlife crime expert for WWF & TRAFFIC:
“This is a massive boost to anti-poaching efforts to protect rhinos in South Africa after more than five years of a devastating wildlife crime wave in the country that has led to the killing of some 2,747 rhinos.
“We hope this increase in budget will allow authorities to enhance their efforts on the ground by acquiring innovative equipment and strategically deploying a combination of technology and patrolling to end the massacre."
Rhinos are under threat because of demand for their horn in parts of Asia, where its consumption has emerged as a prestigious status symbol and is also believed by some consumers to have medicinal properties. In 2013, a record 1,004 rhinos were killed in South Africa, the stronghold for Africa’s rhino population. This year alone, 172 rhinos have been poached since January with 113 of those occurring in Kruger National Park.
"The use of high-tech solutions combined with strong enforcement on the ground can be crucial to end this crisis and tip the balance in favor of rhinos and not poachers.”