Kruger National Park – Landscape of Fear Crime, Corruption and Murder

Excerpt from the research paper:- Landscape of fear Crime, corruption and murder in greater Kruger

The Kruger National Park is arguably one of South Africa’s most iconic symbols and one of the world’s greatest wildlife conservation areas. The size of Wales or Israel, it covers 19 200km² of woodland, mopane forest, savannah, granite hills, grassland plains and mountains, stitched together by the Sabie, Olifants, Letaba, Shingwedzi and Luvuvhu rivers. It is home to more than 500 bird, 145 mammal and 336 tree species.

For more than a decade, Kruger and those who work there have faced an almost unrelenting onslaught of rhino poaching. This was broken only by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a 79.4% reduction in rhino poaching in the park in 2020).

Between 2011 and 2020, the park’s white rhino population fell 75%, from approximately 10 621 animals to just 2 607. Kruger’s small but vitally important population of critically endangered black rhinos dropped by more than half, from around 415 animals in 2013 to about 202 in 2020.

Facilitated by transnational criminal networks, the global illegal trade in African rhino horn is driven by consumer demand
in Asia, primarily in China and Vietnam. Ancient beliefs and modern urban myths have fused to fuel the use of rhino horn for its perceived benefits as a fever-reducer, cancer treatment, health tonic, even a hangover cure.

Disposable income in countries such as Vietnam and China has risen rapidly. Rhino horn has ‘become a luxury item and an investment for the rich, coveted for its rarity, held up as an embodiment of status and a means of buying favour’.

Consumers there are prepared to pay between US$17 545/kg to US$20 881/kg according to recent data from the Wildlife Justice Commission.

The poachers who supply this market often do not conform to the stereotype of greedy criminals who care little for the animals they kill, argues Professor Rosaleen Duffy in a new book on security and conservation.

Rather, she writes, the drivers of poaching are multilayered and complex, relating to a lack of opportunity, money, status and wealth, as well as conspicuous consumption and a desire to gain respect.

From 2018 to 2021, 2 707 rhino poaching incidents were recorded in Africa:

90% in South Africa, with the Kruger and, more recently, KwaZulu-Natal’s Hluhluwe-iMfolozi National Park, bearing the brunt.

Between January and June 2022, Kruger lost 82 animals.

KwaZulu-Natal was hardest hit with 133 losses, more than triple the 33 rhinos killed in the first six months of 2021 when COVID restrictions were eased.

Read more:- 2023-02-Kruger-Corrupt-Fear


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