This means that when poachers arrive in expensive cars and offer money in exchange for information, they find plenty of willing helpers.
Dr Audrey Delsink, wildlife director for the Humane Society International – Africa, said such a crime was “considered low risk, high reward”.
This is especially true given the “extensive legal proceedings” and “painfully slow” trials for the few people arrested. A new strategy drawn up more than five years ago to improve anti-poaching measures has yet to be approved by the government.
But whistleblowing can also come from poorly paid and demoralized rangers – there are currently 82 unfilled positions.
“As long as the training does not take place, the poaching will continue”
This reliance on inside information is “partly the result of our successes in enforcement,” Gareth Coleman, managing director of Kruger Park, told The Daily Maverick.
“Just climbing over a fence and picking up a rhino is much more difficult now. The strategy therefore evolves towards [an insider] see a rhino, give the coordinates, and then there’s money in a bank account.
An army veteran in the area, who asked not to be identified, said poachers arriving in Kruger were becoming better armed.
“They are terrorists, and none of the game wardens or Kruger bosses have had any military training or experience,” he said. “Until this training takes place, poaching will continue.”