11 August 2017

South Africa: Manhunt to Find Poachers After Lions Poisoned, Mutilated

Photo: Pixabay
(file photo).

Police outside Lephalale have launched a manhunt after suspected poachers poisoned and killed two lions at a farm in Vaalwater, Limpopo.

It is alleged that a number of unknown suspects cut the fence and entered the Kwaagadans lion enclosure on Thursday night, then poisoned and killed two lions before fleeing the scene.

"After this killing, the mouth and paws of the two lions were removed and one lion's abdomen was cut open but nothing was taken from it," spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said.

No arrests have yet been made and suspects are still unknown.

In July, another manhunt was launched after three lions were found poisoned and decapitated at Kareefontein farm outside Modimolle on Monday.

Arrests

In June, two big cats that were part of a group of 33 lions freed from circuses in Peru and Colombia in 2016 to live out their days in a wildlife refuge were also killed.

In May, Limpopo police investigators arrested four women near Groblersdal for illegally possessing two lion heads, eight paws with claws, and two lion skins.

Prior to that, in February, five men found in possession of a lion's head were arrested in a sting operation in Phalaborwa.

In a separate arrest, a man was arrested in Senwabarana in connection with the killing and slaughter of a white lion at the Ingogo Game Reserve near Alldays. The lion's head and paws were cut off. Two other lions were poisoned but survived.

In January, Limpopo police launched a manhunt for people who killed three male lions and cut off their legs and heads. They cut through fences and entered a lion enclosure at the Letaba River Lodge, killed the three felines and cut off their heads and legs.

Ngoepe said a special team was established to deal specifically with lion poaching and tackling the new poaching trends of different species.

In most of the cases where arrests have been made, matters were awaiting trial hearing and authorities were optimistic of securing harsh sentences for the culprits, Ngoepe said.

Source: News24

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