US Boosts Fight To Protect Wildlife

US Under-Secretary of State Catherine Novelli and US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Catherine Hill-Herndon share a moment with Sifiso Keswa of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife moments after handing over equipment to support efforts in Anti-Wildlife Trafficking
Tankiso Makhetha | Pretoria News | 11/17/2014

THE COUNTRY’S fight against poaching and wildlife trafficking has been given a handsome donation which will boost its efforts to protect South Africa’s wildlife.

The US government on Friday donated $3 million (R33.2m) to various anti-trafficking organisations in the country.

It also handed more than $750 000 (R8.3m) worth of survival, surveillance and investigative equipment to the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the Free State Department of Environmental Affairs to help their efforts.

This follows a pledge by US President Barack Obama to support the fight against wildlife trafficking.

The US Under-Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Catherine Novelli said it was an honour to help in the South African conservation fight, in particular to protect the country’s rhino.

Four institutions were selected as beneficiaries with two present for the handover which was held at the US Embassy in Pretoria.

To date, 334 suspects have been arrested in connection with the poaching of 996 rhino.

Tshepo Moremi from the Free State Department of Environmental Affairs said more arrests could have been made had there been adequate equipment to deal with poachers.

The beneficiaries of the donation are the CSIR, the Endangered Wildllife Trust, George Mason University’ s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Centre, and The World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa.

Published in the Pretoria News, 11/17/2014