Eight people have been arrested in connection to rhino poaching. According to SANParks, five suspected rhino poachers were arrested en route to commit poaching in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve on Wednesday night.
SANParks spokesperson, Paul Daphne said the five were found in possession of a high calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment. The group had been under heavy surveillance for a period of three weeks following a joint operation between Kruger National Park Rangers, South African Police Service, Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Board Rangers. “We viewed this as a critical group as they had been focusing their operations in the Kruger National Park and adjacent private game reserves including the Klaserie area for some time now, Daphne said.
In another investigation, three rhino poaching suspects were arrested in Giyani by SANParks Rangers in a joint operation with SAPS, where a hunting rifle and ammunition were recovered. “This brings the number of arrests to eight in the last 24 hours,” said Daphne.
SANParks Cheif Executive Dr David Mabunda was adamant that the arrests will send a message to other poachers. “Our intensified efforts, together with our partners, are starting to bear fruit. The poachers and their bosses will not get away with these crimes. They must know they cannot hide, and we will hunt them down wherever they are,”said Mabunda.
The suspects are due to appear in court soon and the charges are being formulated.
SANParks and the South African conservation fraternity continues to request the support and cooperation of all members of society in identifying and reporting suspicious behaviour that could lead to the apprehension and conviction of suspected poachers.
To report incidents of poaching and tip-offs call the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.
Main image by John Morgan www.wildlifeact.com
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