Published On: Fri, Aug 10th, 2018

South Africa: Game rangers arrest 23 suspected rhino poachers in one week

The South African National Parks authority says 23 suspected rhino poachers have been arrested inside the world-acclaimed Kruger National Park (KNP) since the launch of a crackdown on July 19, 2018.

The operation to rid the park of poachers was launched a day after the killing of a game ranger by suspected rhino poachers during a shoot-out. Most rhino poachers operating in the Kruger come from Mozambique where weapons left over from civil wars are sold in the open market.

In a statement released on August 6, KNP Managing Executive Glenn Phillips commended the game rangers for resilience in the face of the tragic loss of their colleague Respect Mathebula.

“These arrests are a sign that the spirit of (ranger) Respect is being honoured by his colleagues in the Rangers Corps. Further to this, the fact that no poachers were wounded or killed in these contacts is a clear demonstration of the professionalism and discipline that embodies our Ranger Corps. 

“There has been relentless poacher activity since his passing, with 156 activities reported and that includes contacts. We are still pleading with our neighbouring communities to help us in this fight by exposing those who are exploiting their children, husbands and relatives to illegally hunt rhino,” Phillips said.

Phillips described the poachers as nothing but criminals without a conscience. During the operations, game rangers recovered 10 loaded high-calibre army and hunting rifles from the poachers.

The suspects are expected to appear in court soon to face charges of poaching and illegal possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

Author: Oscar Nkala

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