To combat poaching, South African game reserves need constant surveillance, increased patrol and safety units, quality training and… budget cuts?
In the eastern South African province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), poachers killed almost 40 percent more rhinos in 2016 than in the previous year, and yet the state-run game reserves have been subjected to budget cuts.
As the conservation agency that oversees the province’s wildlife management, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife claims that the previous budget was unsustainable, but they are still planning to implement the strongest programs to combat threats to the KZN wildlife. However, the most recent proposal for rhino protection involves a park-wide dehorning that could be a risky undertaking in the face of large cutbacks.
This budget cut will include decreases in salaries and a 28 percent cut to operations.
Pay cuts can lead to low staff morale, which is dangerous in an environment that requires highly dedicated employees to face long hours and harsh conditions to protect wildlife.
Fundraising will undoubtedly be needed soon to keep up with new developments in protection and conservation initiatives. The additional funding will likely come from outside organizations and private donors, such as South African National Parks, but requires further effort that takes away from their current work.