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Media Release: SANParks Rangers apprehend six illegal divers

Date: 5th December 2008

South African National Parks (SANParks) marine rangers from the Addo Elephant National Park apprehended four suspects last night and a further two suspects this morning for diving illegally in the Bird Island Marine Protected Area.

South African National Parks (SANParks) marine rangers from the Addo Elephant National Park apprehended four suspects last night and a further two suspects this morning for diving illegally in the Bird Island Marine Protected Area.

The suspects also face charges of trespassing on Bird Island.

At approximately 10.30 pm last night, the Park’s marine rangers found two boats with divers active in the Bird Island Marine Protected Area. The rangers gave chase with the Park’s high-speed boat but the two boats fled, abandoning their divers in the water.

Park rangers later found four divers who had surfaced on Bird Island and arrested them. The search continued through the night for the remaining divers and a further two suspects were arrested this morning.

Although no abalone was found with the divers, seven diving cylinders were confiscated in the operation.

The six suspects were taken to the Port Alfred Police Station to be charged this morning.

The SANParks marine rangers received assistance from Marine & Coastal Management, the South African Police Service and the Traffic Department in the operation.

Bird Island in Algoa Bay is part of the Addo Elephant National Park and home to the largest breeding population of Cape gannets in the world as well as an African penguin colony.

Issued by: South African National Parks

Enquiries: Megan Taplin, Regional Communications Manager, Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra National Parks
Tel: (042) 233-8609 or 083 650 8649

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