2017 is a good year if you are a rhino, and a bad year if you are a poacher. On 16 January the anti-poaching methods from SANparks paid off. Eleven suspected rhino poachers were caught around Kruger National Park.
This was thanks to a cooperative effort from the South African Police Services (SAPS), SANParks Rangers Corps, and the Hawks (Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations).
11 Rhino poachers arrested around Kruger
The arrests first took place just outside Kruger National Park (KNP), in an area called Malelane. Six suspects were caught and questioned after having a multitude of firearms confiscated. Another group was caught oat Hazyview, 57 km outside the National Park, while attempting to smuggle six rhino horns. These horns were then retrieved.
Three more arrests were made inside the National Park, where more poachers had high grade weapons confiscated. Finally, two more were arrested in the Stolsnek Section of Kruger who were found near the carcasses of recently killed rhinos.
Chief Ranger at Kruger National Park, Nicholus Funda, commended the enforcement agencies on their efforts to capture the poachers.
“Our mission to achieve success in fighting this scourge is based on teamwork and support within all law enforcement agencies, communities and our neighboring private reserves. The resultant arrests of 11 individuals in one single day, is a good start to the year and will demonstrate to the crime syndicates that we are serious about ending this cruel attack on our heritage as a collective and are determined to protect our fauna and flora.”
Even though such a big arrest has been made, law enforcement and SANPark Rangers will remain vigilant to ensure that rhino poaching is stopped.
The Poacher’s Pipeline film
A recent film crew from Aljazeera also released footage of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ corruption that takes place on a governmental level with rhino poaching. It sheds light on the transnational crime syndicate involved in poaching and the smuggling of illegal goods.
The film, titled ‘The Poacher’s Pipeline”, links rhino poaching to organised crime syndicates already operating in South Africa.