The operational budgets of state-run game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal are facing a 40% cut‚ which conservationists say will affect antipoaching efforts‚ biodiversity‚ tourism and the running of game parks. Some game parks said they learnt of the cuts last week and were worried about running the parks‚ maintaining conservation efforts and fighting poaching as even petrol for patrol cars would be rationed. The overall budget has not been cut but the operational aspect has been reduced‚ KwaZulu-Natal Ezemvelo spokesperson Musa Mntambo said. The cuts were leading to frozen posts at game reserves‚ in rural areas already short of employment opportunities. KwaZulu-Natal Ezemvelo runs large parks such as Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park — the oldest reserve in Africa — Giants Castle in the Drakensberg‚ and Tembe Elephant Park‚ Mkuze Game Reserve and Ndumo Game Reserve‚ all in northern KwaZulu-Natal. It also runs the St Lucia and iSimangaliso Wetlands parks. "In terms of operational expenditure‚ the ent...

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