Wildlife officials in Mozambique have announced the devastating news that there are no rhino left in the Limpopo National Park in the south of the country. They made the announcement earlier today (Wednesday) at a media briefing. Uncontrolled poaching over the last couple of years has resulted in the last rhino being killed in the park.
The Limpopo National Park authorities were clear in who they blame for the loss. They said the markets for rhino horn in China and Vietnam was responsible.
Park administrator, Antonio Abacar said, “Since I arrived last January I have never been in the presence of this species inside the park, which means that the one in the park is now probably dead”.
A census conducted in early 2011 concluded that there were still some rhinos in the conservation area, but these have disappeared later that year. All the known rhino are no longer alive and while the park has not yet officially declared the rhino locally extinct it is unlikely that any unknown individuals will be found.
The Limpopo National Park covers over 1.1 million hectares and is part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which connects up with the Kruger National Park in South Africa, and the Gonarezhou Park in Zimbabwe. The Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park covers a total area of over 5.5 million hectares. [pullquote]Since I arrived last January I have never been in the presence of this species inside the park, which means that the one in the park is now probably dead.[/pullquote]
Abacar confirmed that park staff are sadly involved with the poaching in the park and that currently 30 staff are suspended while investigations take place.
His biggest concern is that now that all the rhino have gone the poachers will turn on the elephants. Already elephant poaching is increasing and has reached the stage whereby it is harming the tourist trade in the park.