SOUTH AFRICAN LOCAL COMMUNITIES URGED TO HELP FIGHT WIDLIFE CRIME

PRETORIA-- Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa has called on local communities to work with the South African National Parks (SANParks) and the government to preserve South Africa's wildlife heritage.

You can become directly involved in combating wildlife crime or you can assist in educating our children, or other members of your community, about not only the importance of wildlife in strengthening our country's economy, but also in conserving our biodiversity, Molewa said.

The Minister was paying tribute to Kruger National Park field ranger Respect Mathebula who was killed in a shootout with poachers on July 19, 2018. Mathebula was the first ranger to be killed by poachers in the Kruger National Park in more than 50 years.

Highlighting the changing work environment of field rangers in South Africa since rhino poaching increased 10 years ago, Molewa said: "The work of a field ranger became more diverse and complex as these men and women woke each day to continue to lead the way for all of us in conserving our country's natural wonders."

Speaking in conjunction with the observance of World Ranger Day on July 31, Molewa said it was rangers who are at the frontline whether they are battling wildfires or confronting poachers.

The murder of one of our rangers is an act of aggression by unscrupulous individuals and gangs. His death at the hands of alleged rhino poachers is an indication of the severity of the threat our rangers are faced with a daily basis, the Minister said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK