US $3 Million For Wildlife Poaching
The CEO of Ezemvelo, Dr. Bandile Mkhize hosted the U.S. Ambassador, Patrick Gaspard and his wife Mrs. Raina Washington on Monday and Tuesday at Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. The Ambassador was accompanied by the US Consul General, Taylor Ruggles. With the Ambassador’s recent appointment to this position, it was his first visit to a Game Reserve in the country.
The U.S. Government has expressed a keen interest in the support for wildlife conservation, most notably on February 11, 2014 when President Obama released a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.
The CEO had a private meeting with the US Ambassador on Monday which was followed by the Ambassador’s visit to the Bomas to witness the airlifting of rhinos from the Wilderness Area to the Bomas in preparation for the auction that will take place Wednesday, 14th May 2014. Ezemvelo’s Game Capture Unit is currently engaged in airlifting 26 rhinos from the Wilderness Area.
Speaking during the press brief that followed the rhino airlift, the vibrant US Ambassador highlighted the commitment of the US Government in assisting Africa to fight any form of poaching including Wildlife poaching. He further stated that “the US Government has set aside US $10 million to assist Africa. Approximately US $3 million of that US $10 million will be for bilateral assistance to South Africa.” The South African Government will decide on how this assistance is divided amongst the agencies and organizations that are involved in curbing wildlife poaching.
Dr Mkhize emphasized the importance of technological assistance so that Ezemvelo is one step ahead of the wildlife poaching syndicates. The syndicates are always improving their strategies including the high- tech equipment they use. He further noted that the Province will need an estimated R500 million in order to completely halt the rhino poaching epidemic.