Tuesday, December 17, 2013

There Is Still Hope For Our Rhino

By Petro Kotze’

 Are we winning the battle? “Not yet” says retired Gen Johan Jooste, (SANParks commanding officer special projects), admitting that in face of the increasing number of poached rhino in the Kruger National Park, the end of this battle is not nearly in sight. Yet, there is hope.

At any given time, there is an average of 12 poaching groups active in the KNP, sometimes more, he says, “we are experiencing up to 80 armed incursions per month,” he adds. “At the height of our war in the old days something like this would have been unimaginable.” As the number of rhino poached in Kruger alone this year soars to almost 500, and almost 800 nationally, Jooste says that nobody could have foreseen that it would escalate like this.

The battle to be fought is not easy. “At more than 2 million hectares, the park is massive,” he adds. Internationally, the norm is one ranger per 20 square kilometres, and one per 10 square kilometres if the park is under armed protection. To meet that standard, Kruger would need 2000 rangers. Currently, they already employ around 500 but even if they could train and employ over a 1000 more, where would they stay? “building houses alone would take years”.

The immense task resting on the shoulders of the rangers is also taking its toll. “This is not a nice place for them to be at the moment,” says Jooste. The training and payrolling alone are extremely demanding but the psychological strain is also huge. Rangers have to stalk poachers in the bush and are only allowed to shoot if they are being aimed at first, often with something like a .375 that can shoot through a elephant. Consequently, SANParks has established a rangers’ support group that includes psychologists, for them and their families.

Jooste says the solution is multipronged. Essentially, this is an international problem, he stresses. This is the last cache of these animals in the world, and with a concurrent escalation in international wildlife crime, South Africa, and particularly Kruger, is sitting at the exact point where supply and demand meet. This problem is global, continental and regional and affects all of government and our people, he says. According to him the key is collaboration. “We are talking with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, government, representatives from America and Asian countries, Mozambique, all park neighbours and many more,” he says.

Their five-year plan includes a ranger of elements such as the use of technology, an enlarged task force, creating an intensive protection zone around core areas of the park and managing the rhino population itself. Even though the anticipation was to see an improvement in the poaching numbers after the first year (2013), Jooste says they can only hope that they are putting the right strategies and building blocks in place to see the integral results in four years time. The aim is to then see a 20% decrease in poaching numbers per year.

In order to reach this goal, we need to throw everything into the battle, he says, which means a joint, inter-agency, multinational approach. Vitally, they also need you. “South Africans should match the contributions of the rangers,” he says. While a child can throw R1 in a box, a director general of a department can contribute more. “Now is the time”, he urges.

“We need partners, support and international collaboration.” For the men in the street, the most important is to give their active support to accredited funds, he says. They are placing big hopes on the support from the recently launched Bavaria campaign, one of the first to carry the SANParks seal of approval. This ensures that all money donated goes into a ring-fenced fund to be spent where it is most necessary.

Secondly, people are urged to lobby support. “Wherever you are, please spread awareness of the problem to facilitate widespread support.” Jooste says their fear is that they will only receive the necessary support after the tally has hit 3000 carcasses. “The biggest risk that we are running,” he says, “is that too little would have been done, too late.”

 

 

    

Happy New Year


New Plane Gets KNP’s Anti-poaching Efforts Off The Ground

Thanks to a light aircraft funded by Vox Telecom and other donors, crucial aerial surveillance is once again part of the anti-poaching efforts in the Kruger National Park. “The KNP covers an area of almost 19633 Square Kilometres that’s roughly the size of Israel,” notes Bryn Pyne-James, senior general manager for SANParks fund-raising. “Protecting an area that large against poachers with ground-based vehicles alone is impossible, but with air support we have a chance.”

The park’s Bantam aircraft has proved to be a very important anti-poaching tool. Rangers must be able to spot carcasses and pin down the culprits quickly to combat poaching effectively. Unfortunately, the plane was destroyed in an accident last year.

A chance encountered between Vox Telecom CEO Jacques du Toit and pyne-James, quickly led to Vox’s decision to make up the shortfall needed to purchase a locally produced Bathawk plane, and cover its operating costs.

“Conserving our natural environment is one of the core aims of our corporate social-investment programme, and this was one of the most rewarding investments we could make,” says Vox Telecom head of marketing, Clayton Timcke.

Pyne-James says the park is raising funds to buy at least four more Bathawks so that rangers can cover the area more effectively. “We need to put the most effective tools into our rangers toolbox, and the aircraft have proved to be one of the best.”

 

Where to Satisfy The Thrill Of The Chase

By Petro Kotze’

 For some time, simply soaking up the ambiance of our national parks is enough. For other, its the thrill of the chase, boasting about what you managed to see while there and ticking special sightings off your list of achievements. However, its not all about the most renowned animals in this game. There are a number of lists that you can claim to obliterate when exploring...

 
THE BIG 5

The most famous list to tick off on any trip for many visitors is the mighty Big 5. Although many might say that they should not be the only goal of trip, they are still awesome sights to behold. They are the lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, the leopard and white and black rhino. We have two South African national parks where all five of these majestic animals roam. Of course, the world-renowned Kruger National Park and secondly, located closest to the economic mecca that is Johannesburg,Marakele National Park.

 
THE BIG 7

The Big 7 makes even the Big 5 look small in comparison. There is only one national park that can boast with all of these members: Addo Elephant National Park. To see number six and seven you will have to cast your eyes to the sea. They are the whale and the mighty great white shark.

 
THE BIG 4

Although the Big 4 is the Big 5 missing a member, they still pack a pretty hefty punch. At Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site, all of them can be found if you keep your eyes peeled, except for the burly buffalo. Following the recent introduction of lion, you can also see all of them, except for elephant, in Mountain Zebra National Park.

 
THE LITTLE 5

These creatures represent the sometimes “forgotten” inhabitants of the African savannah, particularly in comparison to the Big 5. They are the elephant shrew, ant lion, leopard tortoise, buffalo weaver and rhino beetle (see what they did there?). while only two members (the leopard tortoise and buffalo weaver) are specific species, the rest represent a group of animals, of which there are various species – so it makes them considerably easier to find. There are literally hundreds of species of ant lion, but you’d do best to look for their familiar funnel-shaped sandpits. The elephant shrew, a small, insectivorous mammal, lives in arid lowlands, rocky outcrops and savannah grasslands, while there are over 300 species of the rhino beetle across Africa and Asia (they are actually a subfamily of the scarab beetle). So, where to see them? Mapungubwe and Marakele national parks would be great options as they fall within all of the targets’ documented distribution ranges. Although the same goes for Mokala National Park near Kimberley, manager Deon Joubert has never actually seen a leopard tortoise or a elephant shrew. All of them can also be found in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and while a buffalo weaver sighting has been recorded, this would be the most difficult of the bunch to spot here. If you’re around Augrabies Falls, head into the park to look for the round-eared elephant shrew, the ant lion and the leopard tortoise.

 
THE SHY 5

This is where it gets tricky. They are the aardwolf, aardvark, porcupine, bat-eared fox and meerkat. Technically, the aardwolf and aardvark’s distribution area covers the whole of South Africa, except for the Garden Route ( the aardvark’s roaming ground also excludes the Richtersveld). The porcupine also occurs through almost the whole of South Africa, except for a small area in the North-West province. The bat-eared fox frequents the drier pars of the county. The meerkat is widely distributed in southern Africa.

There are a couple of parks where all of them live within the same fences. These include Kruger,Karoo and Mokala national parks as well as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The Tankwa Karoo National Park is also a contyender, but meerkat seem to be locally extinct, says the parks section ranger, Letsie Coetzee. The West Coast, Mapungubwe, Marakele (although perhaps not for the aardwolf), Namaqua ans Addo are all great contenders.

While not officially part of the Shy 5, the pangolin, Cape fox, honey badger and brown hyena are also very special sightings. The mighty Kgalagadi protects all of these. Possibly the most tricky to spot is the pangolin. Mokala, marakele, Golden Gate and Kruger should all be contenders.

Good Luck!!

Merry Christmas


Poachers Update

#PoachersUpdate: 17/12 #CrocbridgeRangers made contact with a group of at least 4 suspected rhino poachers. During contact 1 suspect was fatally wounded. A set of rhino horns, rifle, ammo & poaching equipment were recovered. The remaing 3 suspects were followed until they unfortunately entered Mozambuque.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Kruger National Park Rangers Get Pampered For Their Hard Work

The IMPERIAL Retail Logistics team together with the SANParks Honorary Rangers donated 500 Christmas hampers to Kruger National Park Rangers today, 12 December 2013 in Skukuza. This donation which is valued R620,000 is a token of appreciation for the hard work demonstrated by the KNP Rangers, especially in the fight against the rhin...o poaching scourge.

"During our team's visit to the Kruger National Park in August this year, we got to grips with the massive effort that is needed to protect the Rhino population. "We decided to contribute by donating food hampers to the families of those who work so passionately especially the KNP Rangers" said Friedel Spies, Commercial Director form IMPERIAL Retail Logistics.

"As IMPERIAL we are proud to be associated with this important initiative and salute all the individuals who are making a difference in the conservation and the protection for the Rhino population in South Africa. Kruger National Park rangers spend most of their working hours camping in the bush looking after this beautiful heritage and a donation such as this one will be the appropriate taking to consideration their working environment. We would like to commit today that IMPEIRAL will continue with this kind to donation to Kruger National Park rangers every year." concluded Friedel Spies, Commercial Director from IMPERIAL Retail Logistics.

"Rangers are, and will always be key to our operation as a national park and their efforts for the last few years wherein rhino poaching has escalated to an unprecedented scale in the country cannot be overlooked. We are delighted to have partners like IMPERIAL Retail Logistics coming on board to motivate our field rangers during this very difficult times" said General Johan Jooste, Officer Commanding of Special Projects in his response message.

The Kruger National Park is divided into 22 ranger sections, each section managed by a Section Ranger who is assisted by an average of 20 field rangers. Gone are those days where rangers use to look after the park and on daily basis, by conducting daily patrols, looking out for snares, signs of poaching activity and report on other eventualities such as erosion, alien plants and the total integrity of our environment only, today they are anti-poaching force. Law enforcement and community relations are some of the efforts that also form part of the rangers’ duties.

Issued by:
South African National Parks

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Adopt, So Our Rhino Don’t Die!


Here is your chance to help save the rhino!

The Adopt So Our Rhino Don’t Die campaign was recently launched , and has SANParks, Bavaria 0.0% and South Africa’s Big 5 Retailers (Woolworths, SPAR, Shoprite Checkers, Massmart and Pick n Pay) cooperating to make a difference in the fight against rhino poaching.

Senior general manager of SANParks fund-raising, Bryn Pyne-James, who initiated the campaign, says that while the idea came from SANParks, Bavaria added the necessary spark to make it happen.

The campaign allows the public to adopt a rhino for R20. Alternatively, you can buy a six-pack of Bavaria 0.0% alcohol, regular or fruit-flavoured malt drinks to get your special barcode, in which case the retailer and Bavaria will each donate R10.

The campaign is the first to carry the official SANParks fund-raising seal.

This means all money will be held in a ring-fenced trust fund that will go directly to rhino anti-poaching activities.

The fund will also be made available to any conservancy that applies for assistance.

Edna Molewa, minister of water and environmental affairs, endorsed the Adopt So Our Rhino Don’t Die campaign by saying, “It is an honour and a plivilege to be standing here on this historic occasion, but i have mixed emotions.

“I am filled ith extreme sadness based on my knowledge of the carnage we are currently facing with this senseless slaughtering of our rhino. On the other hand, I am delighted to know that help is at hand and that at last South Africans across the land will unite to make a difference, and protect the world’s natural heritage for generations to come.”

Stijn Swinkels, family board member of Bavaria Brewery, commented, “The plight of the rhino really touched me. This is about keeping your identity and national pride alive.If we can deploy something as simple as our products reach and accessibility to make people stop and think about this, then I want to stand up for that.”

Ivan Oertle, Woolworths specialist buyer, commented, “We at Woolworths have always believed in doing the right thing and in this case it is collaborating with Bavaria, SANParks and our competitors to bring hope to the worlds last remaining wild rhino population. We urge our customers to support the Adopt So Our Rhino Don’t Die initiative.”

Mark Robinson, group liquor manager, said, “On behalf of the SPAR Group Ltd, I would like to applaud SANParks CEO, Dr David Mabunda, and of course Bavaria 0.0%, For what is undoubtedly and hopefully an initiative that will go a long way in protecting one of our country’s very rare and threatened assets and a part of our heritage.”

“This is a fantastic initiative by Bavaria 0.0%. We are pleased to join other retailers in assisting SANParks to make a difference in the fight against rhino poaching,” added Jonathan Koff, Makro liquor executive, Massmart.

Pyne-James says the aim is to sell 20 million adoptions worldwide. “We encourage everyone to take virtual ownership of a bit of our natural heritage, and in doing so, help us to save the rhino from extinction.”

HOW TO ADOPT YOUR OWN
·         
     Visit www.sanparks.org and click on the “adopt” button to access the adoption page.
·         
     Payment can be made by Credit Cardonline, via a R20SMS or by buying a six-pack of Bavaria 0.0% alcohol at any participating Big 5 retailers (Woolworths, SPAR, Shoprite Checkers, Massmart and Pick n Pay). In this case the Big 5 retailers and Bavaria will jointly pay for your adoption. SMS the keyword “Rhino” to 34061. Bavaria and the retailer will pay for the adoption on your behalf. SMS costs R2. A unique will be sent back via SMS for you to verify.
·         
     Each proud rhino parent receives a personalised adoption certificate via email, which means no money is wasted on packaging, postage or gifts.    

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Three Suspects Found With Elephant Tusks

On Saturday, 7th December 2013, In the Punda Maria area during a joint stop and search of vehicles moving in and out of the Kruger National Park, three suspects transporting two cut up elephant tusks weighing approximately 80 kilograms to Mozambique were arrested.

A fourth suspect, who allegedly found and illegally picked up the tusks from a carcass close to Punda Maria, was later followed up and has been arrested.

Three of the suspects have thus far made confessions. Investigations are continuing and all efforts are being made to locate the carcass which is believed to have died of natural causes.

Issued by:
South African National Parks

Monday, December 9, 2013

On Safari With Mark From 2 December 2013

Route over the past 3 days has been similar:

Napi - doispan - Albaseni - Napi - H3 - S114 - Napi - Nkambeni

Over the past three days the general normal sightings have been:

Kudu, giraffe, impala, warthog, steenbok, common duiker, klipspringer, waterbuck, chackma baboons, vervet monkeys, Hyena, hippos, herds of buffalo and elephant and Nile crocodiles.


2 December 2013

Highlights:

On the late drive we came across a side striped jackal on the road. After spending time with it we drove off and approximately 200m past the jackal we found a male cheetah scent marking his territory. Eventually walking out onto the road right in front of our open vehicle.

On the way back to camp, we found a young leopard walking across the road towards shitlhave. Great sighting as we were the only car with it.

3 December 2013

Highlights:

On the morning drive we heard about a young female leopard that had just caught a impala lamb 1.3kms from napi on the watergat. We found her 3m off the road busy eating. Guests got great photos.

Further to this the day was rather quiet with only general game been viewed.

4 December 2013

Highlights:

On the morning drive we heard about a female leopard with her two cubs that had just caught a male impala approximately 7kms from napi on the H3. We drove down and found them eating approximately 5m from the road. Guests enjoyed it and all could get great photos of them.

On the afternoon drive, The only report on lions that was worth going for was 200m from napi on S114. All 3 female lions lying literally on the road.

Tomorrow we leave Nkambeni and overnight at skakuza. Hope to get some great rhino sightings as the new clients haven't got this beautiful animal close to the road and all sightings have been distant sightings.

5 December 2013

Route: Nkambeni - napi - H3 - napi - skakuza

General animals seen:

Elephants, Kudu, impala and warthog

No highlight sightings to report as today's weather has been raining and windy. All the animals have moved off the roads and in sheltered area's. We decided to end the day early as guests wanted to do some shopping at skakuza.

6 December 2013

Route: skakuza - tshokwane tar - S100 - satara

General sightings were:

Kudu, steenbok, warthog, giraffe, blue wildebeest, zebra, impala, waterbuck, hippos, chackma baboons, vervet monkeys, bushbuck, common duiker, elephant and buffalo.

Highlight sightings were:

1 male cheetah scent marking his territory on the Tshokwane tar and H10 junction. Guests could get good photos as it was very relaxed and not bothered by our presence.

On the afternoon drive we found 2 majestic male lions lying approximately 30m from the road enjoying the setting of the African sun.


7 December 2013

Route: satara - Orpen gate

General animals spotted:

Impala, warthog, giraffe, blue wildebeest, zebra and kudu

No highlight sightings as it rained all the way to the gate.

That's all for now till 10th December 2013

Contact Made With Poachers

On Saturday, 7th December 2013, rangers in the Stolsnek section of the Kruger National Park made contact with a group of three suspected rhino poachers on their way out of the park.

During the incident, two suspects were fatally wounded and the third suspect managed to escape arrest.

A hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered during the operation.

No evidence was found of the group having shot any rhino in the Kruger National Park.

Issued by:
South African National Parks

Friday, December 6, 2013

Possible Solutions To Rhino Horn Scourge Debated By Parliamentary Committee On Water And Environment

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs met this week to get a better understanding of the current situation relating to the illegal killing and conservation of rhinoceros in South Africa and to debate and seek possible solutions to the rhino poaching challenges in... South Africa.

Rhino poaching across South Africa and Africa has risen sharply in the past few years and has threatened to reverse the hard-won population increases achieved by conservation authorities during the 20th Century. In order to address this problem, Government and various other role-players have initiated various interventions to address the surge in rhino poaching. Following several engagements over the past two years between the Portfolio Committee and relevant stakeholders, the Portfolio Committee conducted a follow-up workshop on Rhino Poaching in Skukuza, Kruger National Park, from 2 - 4 December 2013, with a view to giving impetus to the efforts and commitment towards minimising the scourge of Rhino Poaching.

The workshop, held in Skukuza, comes as the number of rhinos poached for their horn in South Africa, since January 2013 increased to 919.

So far this year, 560 rhinos have been poached in the Kruger National Park. And the provincial figures stand at a total of 359. In Limpopo alone, 105 rhinos have been poached, 82 in North West, 79 in KwaZulu-Natal and 77 in Mpumalanga. The total number of suspected poachers arrested has increased to 316.

The workshop, attended by around 80 delegates, included 13 members of the Portfolio Committee, the Department of Environmental Affairs, provincial departments, SANParks, private rhino owners and numerous stakeholders and NGOs. The meeting was opened by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Mrs Edna Molewa, on Monday, 2 December 2013 who emphasised the need for cooperation by various stakeholders and indicated the government’s plan moving forward. The Minister reiterated that continuing to do more of the same is not working. The solution to rhino poaching is complex and needs innovative solutions.

Members of the Portfolio Committee, under the chairmanship of Advocate Johnny de Lange, were briefed on all issues related to rhino conservation; management; safety and security; trends, structure, nature of black markets in wildlife products;consumer behaviour, and rhino economics. Discussions also focussed on possible solutions to destroy or at least seriously debilitate the existence of a lucrative, rapidly growing, underground “black market” illegally trading in rhino horn. Some of the proposed solutions included among others:

- Increased involvement of communities, including community ownership of rhino and benefit-sharing by communities;

- Emphasis on cross-border collaboration, including cross-border enforcement operations to disrupt local criminal networks;

- Enhancing actionable intelligence to enable South Africa to disrupt transnational criminal networks involved in the illegal trade in rhino horn;

- Implementation of mechanism to increase the conviction rate in rhino-related cases;

- Converting the present ranger corps into the best anti-poaching force in Africa;

- Implementation of mechanisms to improve communication and cooperation between private landowners, security forces and the environmental sector;

- The continued use of the DNA project, RhoDIS, to enhance enforcement, prosecution and the creation of a national rhino DNA database;

- Incentivise the strictly limited and regulated trade and possession of rhino as a live commodity

- Strategic, targeted culturally sensitive demand reduction initiatives;

- Introducing a strictly limited and regulated trade mechanism for rhino horn through which only legal horn from legitimate stockpiles, and not harvested horns, are sourced.

Advocate de Lange, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, emphasized that the Committee expects that all interventions should be based on and support protection, conservation and sustainable use, which are the cornerstones of the environmental rights afforded to the people of South Africa in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. The principle of sustainable use as an integral part of conservation is not only enshrined in the Constitution and the country’s environmental legislation.

Section 24 of the Constitution provides everyone with the right to and environment that secures ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

The discussions relating to a strictly limited and regulated trade in rhino horn included the need to:

- Ensure that all opportunities, implications and risks are assessed;

- Urgently finalise the verification of all rhino horn stockpiles, especially privately owned stockpiles;

- Finalise the process to appoint a Panel of Experts to assist the Inter-Ministerial Committee appointed by Cabinet to deliberate on the matters relating to a possible trade in rhino horn;

- Engage rhino range States and the region on these matters, including range expansion; and sharing of best practices and information; and

- Ensure that all other measures and initiatives continue to be implemented and strengthened.

It was emphasised that all parties present shared a common concern and interest, and that more similar engagements need to be held as the government prepares to table its proposal regarding the trade in rhino horn to CITES CoP17 in 2016.

The Parliamentary Committee needs to continue working closely with all government and civil society stakeholders in ensuring that decisions regarding the management and conservation of South Africa’s rhino are not detrimental to their future.

South Africans and members of the international community are encouraged to report information regarding rhino poaching and related tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.

Issued by:
The Department of Environmental Affairs

Poaching Update

Possible solutions to Rhino horn scourge debated by Parliamentary committee. The workshop, held in Skukuza, comes as the number of rhino poached for their horn in South Africa, since January 2013 increased to 919.
http://bit.ly/19iOwK6


KNP GATE QUOTAS IN FORCE DURING THE 2013 FESTIVE SEASON

With the festive season around the corner, The Kruger National Park (KNP) would like to remind Day Visitors about the gate quotas when planning their holiday.

To avoid disappointment, Day Visitors are urged to book in advance in order to secure their entry in the park since daily quotas will be strictly enforced throughout the festive seaso...
n period.

The procedure is that once the daily quota has been reached, only people with valid bookings would be allowed in. Day Visitors who pre-book their visit are expected to pay a non-refundable deposit of R32 per adult and R16 per child; which is meant to secure their space because they would have been counted in the number that make the daily quota.

Although in operational all throughout the year, the gate quotas are mostly reached during long weekends and public holidays. “If anyone is planning a visit on those days, it is recommended that they either arrive at the gate very early in the morning as the service is on first come first served basis or pre-book their entrance via Central Reservations (012 428 9111)”; explained the KNP’s GM: Communications and Marketing, William Mabasa.

There have been instances where some of the pre-booked Day Visitors arrived at the gate and expected to be excluded from paying the Conservation Fees. Mabasa went on to advise Day Visitors to take note that even if they have pre-booked for their visit, this does not exempt them from paying Conservation Fees upon arrival at the gate but booking only secures them entry.

Day Visitors with advanced bookings are also expected to arrive at the booked gate by no later than 13:00 on the date of the booking, because after 13:00 the booking lapses.

To enhance efficiency at the gates, various security structures as well as honorary rangers will be deployed in order to assist gate staff with managing the queues and other different services of the gates.

“All visitors are also reminded to adhere to the rules and regulations of the KNP, with particular emphasis on littering, speeding, getting out of cars, loud noises; otherwise it becomes one of the potential areas of possible conflict between park officials and the public.” “We also request visitors to plan their trip by observing gate opening and closing times so that they do not find themselves arriving late at the camps or gates either on their way in or out of the Park;” concluded Mabasa.

Each gate has its limited number of Day Visitors that can be allowed per day e.g. Kruger Gate 750 and 500 for the other gates such as Punda Maria, Pafuri, Phalaborwa, Giriyondo, Orpen, Phalabowa, Phabeni, Numbi, Malelane Crocodile Bridge.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Statement On The Outcomes Of United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change

Statement on the outcomes of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - COP19/CMP9 in Warsaw, Poland.

Statement delivered by Ms Judy Beaumont, Deputy Director General, Climate Change and Air Quality on behalf of Mrs Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs.

The nineteenth internationa...
l climate change Conference of the Parties (COP19) and itsKyoto Protocol (CMP 9) closed late on Saturday, 23 November 2013 in Warsaw, Poland following two weeks of intensive negotiations.

The Warsaw conference addressed a total of 68 agenda items and took 38 decisions (28 under the COP, and 10 under the CMP). In summary there were 4 major outcomes of the conference.

Firstly, were a set of decisions aimed at finalising and enhancing the implementation of the international response to the climate crisis now and up to 2020. This involved the finalisation of accounting rules under Kyoto to enable countries to ratify the amendments and their legally binding emission reduction commitments as agreed in Durban in 2011. After two weeks of detailed technical discussions, Parties were able to agree most of the outstanding accounting rules for the Kyoto second commitment period, and this work will be finalised at the next meeting.

In addition to the finalisation of Kyoto rules, there was critical work required to enhance implementation under the Convention in the pre-2020 period for both developed and developing countries.

A key milestone was reached by finalising the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) systems for both developing and developed countries. The Warsaw COP adopted the review guidelines for biennial reports (BRs) and national communications in time for the submission of the first Biennial Reports from developed countries in January 2014, as well as, the international consultation & analysis process for developing countries.

Adaptation continued to receive the prominent attention that it deserves under all the Convention bodies with respect to implementation between now and 2020. The most notable outcome on adaptation was the conclusion of the guidelines for developing countries in general to develop National Adaptation Plans. This is a critical outcome for South Africa as these guidelines can now be used to further develop the country’s own National Adaptation Plan, which is currently underway. This put adaptation on a clear path to be in the centre of the legal instrument being negotiated for implementation from 2020 onwards. These negotiations are to be concluded in Paris in 2015.

A major priority to enable enhanced post 2012 and pre-2020 implementation is the question of how to finance climate change efforts. The COP adopted seven decisions on finance. The most critical ones are, a) long term finance, b) arrangements between the COP and the Green Climate Fund (GCF); and c) support to the fundraising strategy and campaign of the Adaptation Fund Board. During the Conference, pledges totalling over US$100 million were made that ensure the continuation of the Adaptation Fund’s support for concrete adaptation projects in developing countries. Meeting this target is a significant step for developing countries as it means work can continue to pilot the Adaptation Fund’s direct access approach to supporting programmes on the ground. In terms of long term finance, developed countries pledged to scale up available finance, based on the levels achieved during the fast-start period upwards of USD10.2-USD15 billion of public finance per year, with the aim of achieving the goal of jointly mobilising USD100 billion per year by 2020.

With the conclusion of the arrangement between the COP and the GCF, the GCF is now well on its way to concluding its accountability relationship with the Convention and is on track to start its initial resource mobilisation process prior to September 2014, when the UN Secretary-General will convene a high level Leaders’ Summit. This is a huge milestone attained under the implementation agenda.

The second major outcome of Warsaw is the progress made in the negotiation of the climate change system to be implemented beyond 2020.

This is to be captured in a new legal instrument for implementation post 2020 and is being negotiated under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). Warsaw was able to transition from the exploratory phase of the negotiations to a more formal mode of work. This was achieved by focused discussions on elements for inclusion in the new legal instrument. A decision, highlighting key components of the 2015 outcome was adopted. The ADP is now on its way to producing a negotiation text in time for the 2015 agreement to be reached in Paris. In addition Parties have agreed to start their “homework” - national consultation processes aimed at putting numbers on the table at the Paris 2015 COP.

The third major Warsaw was progress in negotiation of means to scale up ambition in the post 2012 and pre 2020 period.

The United Nations Environment Programme’s 2013 Emission’s Gap Report (on the ‘gap’ between emissions reduction required by 2020 to limit temperature increase to 2 degrees, and emissions reductions pledged by countries at the moment) indicates that developed countries’ overall emissions continue to grow instead of decrease. Even if the current emission reduction pledges are fully implemented, the emission gap in the year 2020 will be 8-12 GtCO2e. This is what makes the decision to accelerate activities under the work-plan on enhancing mitigation ambition up to 2020 extremely important. Parties agreed to identify, implement and scale up actions with high mitigation potential in 2014. This will be done in a coherent manner under the Durban Platform (ADP) workstream II with the objective of closing this 8-12 GtCO2e emissions gap as soon as possible and not later than 2020.

The year 2014 has been billed as the year of ambition for international climate negotiations. Firstly, the Annex I Parties (developed countries) under the Kyoto Protocol will be revisiting their commitments by April. It is not clear whether developed country Parties under the Convention not covered by the Kyoto Protocol will be doing the same. Secondly, the United Nations Secretary General will be convening a High Level Climate Change Summit on 23 September 2014 to provide political momentum to the climate change talks. The Ministers of Environment/Climate Change will also have a high-level dialogue on ambition during the June 2014 UNFCCC intersessional meeting in Bonn. The Ministers will also have another chance to engage during the pre-COP meeting in Venezuela and the 20th COP in Lima, Peru towards the end of 2014.

The fourth major Warsaw outcome was the finalisation of a very contentious negotiation on an international mechanism to deal with loss and damage caused by climate change.

The key priorities for Africa and other developing countries were an outcome on the establishment of a mechanism on loss and damage due to climate change and finance as part of the urgent implementation programme between now and 2020. The most recent science as outlined in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report confirms that the severity of climate change impacts now and into the future poses a number of developmental, economic, social and food security challenges to developing countries. While it will be possible for some countries to adapt to climate change to a certain extent, adaptation will take time, and there will increasingly be extreme climatic events such as the recent super-typhoon which tragically struck the Philippines, to which it is impossible to adapt.

It is on this basis that developing countries have been working towards the establishment of an institutional mechanism to deal with loss and damage resulting from the adverse effects of climate change. In the case of some countries, particularly small island states, losses from climate change will likely be catastrophic, and could involve irreversible damage and the permanent loss of some or of all of their national territory.

I was tasked by the Polish COP President to facilitate negotiations and to find a resolution to this issue of loss and damage. This was a continuation of my role from the Doha Conference last year and I was assisted by Sweden’s Minister of Environment Lena Margareta Ek.

We facilitated three days of challenging negotiations, and concluded with a landmark outcome with the launching of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with climate change impacts. The decision outlines institutional arrangements, functions and modalities of the Mechanism, which aims to address loss and damage associated with impacts of climate change, including extreme events and slow onset events. The conclusion of negotiations on this mechanism, with clear linkages to other UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) mechanisms, was very important to South Africa’s expressed goal of achieving a high level of integration of UNFCCC mechanisms to tackle various aspects of the climate change problem.

In conclusion, I will briefly reflect on the way forward next year. It is important that next year’s COP in Peru facilitates a political understanding of the shape of the 2015 agreement in advance, so that technical elaboration of that agreement can begin early in 2015. This is the lesson of Copenhagen outcome in 2009 that realised a political agreement which was needed before being translated into a formal and more technical agreement on the post-2012 implementation system in Cancun and Durban. With proper sequencing Parties can keep to the Durban agreement of reaching a new deal during the 2015 Paris COP 21.

Issued by:
The Department of Environmental Affairs

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Six Years Imprisonment For Rhino Poacher

Mozambican man has been jailed for six years by the Makhado Regional Court for attempted rhino poaching, Limpopo police said on Tuesday.

Musa Simango, 19, was sentenced on Monday, Colonel Ronel Otto said.

He was found guilty of attempted rhino poaching, unlawful possession of ammunition, and trespassing.

The 19-year-old Mozambican national and two of his accomplices were cornered by a ranger in the Punda Maria area of the Kruger National Park in October. A shooting ensued. One man, Derrick Maluleke, 34, was killed. A third man escaped

By:
South African Press Association

Speech By The Minister Of Water And Environmental Affairs

Speech by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs at Portfolio Committee.. Follow the link to view http://www.sanparks.org/about/news/default.php?id=55947

Monday, December 2, 2013

Suspected Rhino Poachers At Large

Two suspected rhino poachers are on the run following a shootout with rangers in the Kruger National Park.

One of the suspects were shot dead during Saturday’s gun battle.

It's understood the three men were cornered by rangers while hunting rhino near the Mozambican border.

The National Park’s William Mabasa says officials are now working with Mozambican auth...
orities to try and track them down.

“We’ll be signing an agreement with our Mozambican counterparts very soon so that we’re able to follow them up when such things happen.”

He says a hunting rifle and ammunition were
recovered after Saturday’s incident.

“The one who was partially wounded had a .458 firearm and some other poaching material.”

The firearm found on one of the suspected poachers is of the same caliber as the one used in a rhino killing earlier this week.

On Thursday, two three-day-old rhino carcasses were found at the park.

An autopsy on the carcasses later revealed one of the rhino died from a bullet wound to the ribs.

The rhino are just two of the 548 rhino that have
fallen victim to poachers in the park this year.

By:
Eyewitness News

Poachers Update 30/11

On Saturday, 30th November 2013, rangers in the Crocodile Bridge section of the Kruger National Park made contact with three suspected rhino poachers entering the Kruger National Park just north of Chana Spruit along the Eastern boundary.

One suspect was fatally wounded and the other two remaining suspects managed to escape back to Mozambique.

A .458 hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered.

Issued by:
South African National Parks

Poachers Update 29/11

Mozambique Twin City Rangers arrested 2 suspected rhino poachers who were on their way to hunt rhino in the Kruger National Park. A .458 rifle and ammo were recovered.