Africa

We cant afford to scale back: S. Africa faces poaching threat amid Covid-19 lockdown

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Despite a country-wide lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africas anti-poaching rangers remain on patrol, protecting one of the countrys most valuable resources at a time when conservationists fear a lack of tourists may be putting rare animals at greater risk from illegal hunting.

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Though most South Africans have been ordered to stay at home during the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus, anti-poaching rangers have been designated key workers. On foot, in jeeps and by helicopter, they continue to scour the countrys vast national parks for signs of poachers.

"We havent scaled back on our anti-poaching activities or wildlife security and conservation management. We cant afford to do that, we also made a commitment to our partners that we wont do that,” Ian Nowak, the general manager at Balule Reserve within Greater Kruger Park, told AFP.

“And our job is to protect the raw material, which is the nature, conservation, as well as the ecosystem, and thats what well do and well carry on doing that, lockdown or not."

Normally, the park would be full of tourists on safari at this time of year but it is now mostly empty. Conservationists fear the poaching threat may have increased as a result, both from illegal traders and people out of work who, because of the pandemic, may turn to hunting bush meat to survive.

"During this time, usually with the lodges being busy, theres a lot more eyes and ears out there as well. Not necessarily anti-poaching eyes and ears but its eRead More – Source

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