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CAPE TOWN – (AFP) – South Africa wants to re-erect a border fence with Mozambique to stop rhino poachers from crossing into its flagship safari destination, Kruger National Park.
“There is a need to put up that fence,” said Environment Minister Edna Molewa, adding that the country’s parks authority shared her view.
Poachers are slipping across the border into Kruger to kill rhinos for their horns, which are then sold on the Asian black market.
Fencing along a 40-kilometre (25-mile) corridor was also completely removed to create a cross-border park with Mozambique, while the rest of the 360-kilometre eastern boundary has also fallen into disrepair in parts.
“The government wants to look at the whole border fence,” said Wanda Mkutshulwa, spokeswoman for the parks authority SANParks, saying the removed section would be part of the exercise.
A new fence would be electrified and fitted with a detection system to prevent attempts to breach the boundary, said Fundisile Mketeni, South Africa’s deputy director general of biodiversity and conservation.
“It will be electrified and linked to some technology because we want to prevent people coming through,” he told AFP.
It was being examined as a temporary measure, he said.
Despite ramped up security measures including drone technology, Kruger has lost 242 rhinos so far this year out of a total of 350 killed in the country.
The section of fence was lowered to allow animals to move freely in what was named the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
Political discussions between Mozambique and South Africa over the fence are under way but have faced delays, said the minister.
The treaty to set up the international park was signed in 2002 by the presidents of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.