8 May 2013

South Africa: Rhino Poaching Update

press release

Arrests for rhino poaching this week showed a considerable increase, with 11 alleged poachers being arrested in the eastern half of the country. The latest arrests bring to 94 the number of people caught for rhino poaching and smuggling rhino horn since 1 January.

The arrests came as the number of rhino poached since the beginning of the year increased to 292.

The Kruger National park continues to be the worst hit, with the number of rhinos poached since January increasing to 216. In North West province a total of 23 rhinos have been poached, while 20 have been poached in KwaZulu-Natal, 19 in Limpopo and 14 in Mpumalanga.

SANParks said that two men were arrested in Marble Hall on May 1 after they had allegedly approached a local farmer to sell rhino horns in their possession. The horns and rhino poaching equipment were among the items confiscated during the arrest.

SANParks said eight of the 11 people arrested were caught during joint operations in the past week, five suspected poachers were arrested on May 1 while en route to the Timbavati Private Game Reserve.

The alleged poachers, who had been under surveillance for almost a month, were found in possession of a hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment.

During a follow-up investigation the same day three more suspected poachers were arrested near Giyani, during a joint operation with the police. A hunting rifle and poaching equipment was confiscated. Two alleged poachers were fatally wounded in shooting incidents on the same day.

SANParks said two alleged poachers were arrested in the Kruger National Park after they killed a rhino cow near Pafuri, in the north of the Park, on Saturday. A 458 hunting rifle, ammunition, two rhino horns and poaching equipment were recovered.

In a shootout near Crocodile Bridge at the weekend, one alleged poacher was fatally wounded in a skirmish with the Kruger Park ranger corp on Sunday night. Two alleged accomplices fled. A .375 hunting rifle with a silencer, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered.

As of January, 44 alleged poachers have been arrested in the Kruger National Park, 20 in Limpopo, 13 in KwaZulu-Natal, 8 in North West, 6 in Mpumalanga and 3 in Gauteng.

South Africans are urged to report incidents of poaching and tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.

For media queries contact:

Albi Modise

Cell: 083 490 2871

Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs

8 May 2013

Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs

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