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South African rhinos find refuge in eSwatini

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On Wednesday, 24 July 2019, eSwatini Big Game Parks (BGP) welcomed ten rhinos from South Africa (SA) that were brought into the country for security reasons.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, eSwatini’s rhino protection is unmatched by any other country.

This came about largely as a result of the Game Act, a highly effective piece of conservation legislation that was passed into law in 1953 and amended in 1991.

BGP Director, Ted Reilly, said it was only fair for the animals to be brought into the country because eSwatini has a good record where rhino poaching is concerned.

Since 1992, just three rhinos have been killed by poachers in eSwatini (two in 2011, and one in 2014) while official statistics, as confirmed by BGP, show that about 8 000 rhinos were killed in neighbouring South Africa in 2018 alone.

Reilly told the media that upon arrival, the rhinos were inspected, and veterinary experts confirmed that they were healthy and in good shape.

“We would like to thank the police who escorted the trucks that ferried the animals and ensured that they were safe,” he said.

The country has five game reserves, namely: Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary (4 600 hectares), Hlane Royal National Park (25 000 hectares), Mkhaya Game Reserve (10 000 hectares), Malalotja (18 200 hectares) and Mlawula Mbuluzi (2 400 hectares).

These parks operate under the Game Act gives which give rangers effective powers of arrest, and search anyone, anywhere in the country without a search warrant.

BGP also has intelligence in the communities that alerts them of where the poachers are and what they are doing.

“We have a standing public offer of a 3 500 dollars reward for any information that leads to the conviction of a poacher, and this has been very effective,” Reilly added.


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