Three suspected rhino poachers have been arrested in the Kruger National Park on Friday, 1 July 2022, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has said.
“Thanks to a tourist who reported a strange noise of gunshots in the park. A total of four rhinoceros were allegedly killed by poachers before they were caught by the field rangers,” said SAPS Mpumalanga spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
Reports suggests that on the day of the incident a group of armed intruders sneaked inside the park and later gunshots were heard by a tourist who had been visiting the park.
“The information was escalated to the field rangers and a helicopter was immediately dispatched to the scene where the soundwas heard. As the chopper arrived, three men were spotted and captured in possession of a hunting rifle, a silencer, three knives, four mobile phones as well as three bags”
SAPS Mpumalanga spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala
SAPS: HORNS AND CARCASSES RECOVERED
After the alleged rhino poachers were arrested, a total of three rhino horns were found in next to the spot where the suspects were found. Mpumalanga authorities also found four carcasses of rhinoceros, however the horn on the fourth animal had not yet been removed when the suspects were caught.
“Through preliminary investigation it was discovered that the alleged poachers failed to remove the horn as the knife they were reportedly using, was broken. It was further discovered that the three male suspects are from the country of Mozambique and were in South Africa illegally hence a charge of contravention of the Immigration Act of South Africa,” Mohlala added.
Police say they cannot rule out the suspects facing further charges.
They are set to appear before the Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 4 July 2022 facing a charge of possession of unlicensed firearm with ammunition, as well as charges related to poaching and illegally entering the park.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga , Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has praised field rangers for the excellent work done by apprehending the alleged poachers.
“We are adamant that the arrest will serve as a lesson to others that no one can just go to the park and hunt as they wish without any consequences. We hope that the suspects will be dealt with by the court,” Manamela said.