Save the rhino for our future generations

PERILOUS ACT: Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa has warned the Concourts ruling on trade in rhino horn should not be construed to mean it can take place in an "unregulated fashion. The pro-trade lobby are delighted, while conservations have expressed grave concerns. Pictures: Armand Hough

Save the rhino for our future generations, writes Narend Singh.

LAST Sunday two foreign nationals were caught leaving South Africa with rhino horn worth R5million hidden in their luggage.

That’s the tip of the iceberg. This year alone, 477 rhinos have fallen to poachers. In KwaZulu-Natal, we lost 23 in just 12 days.

Tragically, our anti-poaching victories in the Kruger National Park have simply relocated the battle.

With our country still losing three rhinos a day, we dare not cut budgets and think we are winning. Within a few short years, there will be no rhino left unless government acts across the board.

Treasury must count the cost to our country of illegal rhino horn trafficking.

Tourism must count the future cost of lost revenue.

Justice must create circuit courts in all districts where protected areas occur.

Police must investigate the nefarious syndicates who are operating freely.

Safety and Security must refit our military with green berets to defend our natural heritage.

Environmental Affairs must study the pros and cons of dealing with existing stockpiles of legal horn.

Communities living around protected areas must receive incentives and training to become partners in this fight.

Through Project Rhino KZN, a million youths are calling on us to stop the slaughter now. If we fail, their generation will never see a wild rhino.

A year from now, our progress will be judged at the World Youth Wildlife Summit hosted by SANParks. Let us give them reason to hope.

* Narend Singh is an MP and the IFP Chief Whip in Parliament.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.