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Rhinos are just one of the many species being poached, the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Joyce Mabudafhasi said.
Mabudafhasi said although the issue of rhino poaching was a government priority, “it is only a part of the larger problem, as many other animals are being poached – even frogs”.
She was briefing media during a lekgotla of her department’s Green Scorpions unit in Polokwane on Monday, Beeld newspaper reported.
The deputy minister did not elaborate on the role of the Green Scorpions in the fight against rhino poaching.
More than 70 rhinos had been killed since the beginning of 2012.
Mabudafhasi said South Africa had suffered an R80 billion loss in the 2010/11 financial year as a direct result of environmental crimes that included the illegal trade in abalone (perlemoen), ivory and rhino horn.
She said the Green Scorpions would be placed in the provinces later this year, with Limpopo the first priority.
They would also have the power to impose fines of between R5 million and R10 million on environmental offenders.