Pretoria — A suspected rhino poacher has been shot dead, while two others were arrested in the Nwanetsi section of the Kruger National Park.
The suspect was fatally wounded in a joint operation carried out by the Kruger National Park Task Force Rangers and the South African Police Services on Saturday.
SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said a high calibre hunting rifle fitted with a silencer, ammunition and poaching equipment were found in the possession of the suspects.
Thakhuli said initial investigations indicated there were no poached animals in the area. "Therefore media reports stating that two rhinos have been poached cannot be verified as further investigations are underway," he said.
According to SANParks rangers, the rhino that was thought to have been shot and sustained an injury on the leg was actually involved in a fight with another rhino.
"This was verified by a veterinary service officer who attended to the animal," Thakhuli said.
"A further aerial survey of the area was done this morning and the rhino in question was observed roaming freely in the bush."
At least 32 rhinos have been poached in South Africa since the beginning of the year.
SANParks has asked the public to help the police with any information which may lead to the arrest of more would-be poachers.
South Africans are urged to report any information or tip offs that they may have in relation to rhino poaching to 0800 205 005.