The war on poaching is complex and detailed. For those of you who are newer to the poaching crisis, here is a brief list of key players who are mentioned regularly.
Jacob Zuma-South African president
Not known for taking an active role in the with the people, let alone the poaching crisis, Zuma is a controversial president. He has spent 23 million taxpayer money on expansion of his own private residence.
His mention of poachers in his Feb address was “Our law enforcement agencies are working hard to arrest this scourge. We have reached agreements with China, Vietnam, Kenya, Mozambique and other countries to work together to stop this crime. We thank the business community and all South Africans who participate in the campaign to save rhino.”
Edna Molewa – South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs
Molewa was appointed by President Zuma in 2010. She represents the country on environmental affairs, including the issue of poaching. As an extension of Zuma’s government, her statements and efforts are at times questionable as well.
Molewa’s comment on legal trade- “Experts are working on structure to look at the stockpiles that we have and not bennefitting anybody, yet people are killing rhino for these horns that we have elsewhere. It’s a proposal moving towards possible trade.”
Johan Jooste – Commanding Officer of Special Projects at SANParks
Jooste was introduced to head up anti-poaching efforts in Kruger in 2012. As a retired major-general, he has likened the poaching crisis to an “insurgency war”. He has implemented strategies including drone use, intelligence gathering and troop placement, being so bold as to state he will lessen poaching by 20%.
Jooste stated “We want ultimately to have more successes outside the park than in. Once poachers are inside the park, it’s too late… The ultimate victory of this war won’t be determined in the bush, but in the boardroom, in the courtroom.
CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora
CITES is an international agreement between governments that was created as a measure to protect endangered wildlife. It is voluntary, and does not supersede a countries own laws.
The countries who are part of the group meet once every 3 years to discuss the current situation for any given fauna or flora listed. Each species listed is given a rating of Appendix I , Appendix II or Appendix III depending on the need.
You may recognize this from one of the petitions circulating to ask CITES not to lift the ban on rhino horn trade.
SANParks – South African National Parks
SANParks manages a group of parks in SA, including Kruger National Park, which is the largest and oldest. They have been in existence for 110 years, trying to balance conservation and tourism.
Of course, Kruger is also the epicenter of the poaching war. With the majority of the world’s surviving rhino, they too are the area with the majority of the poaching incidents.
KWS – Kenya Wildlife Service
KWS was established in 1990 to conserve and manage Kenya’s wildlife. They manage the majority of parks and reserves in Kenya, with the Masai Mara being the one exception. They operate in differing branches of community, security (i.e. rangers) and veterinary.
They run several programs to help in conservation, including elephant and rhino projects.