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Media Release: Suspected poacher shot dead in KNP

Date: 14th October 2010

South African National Parks (SANParks) announced today that two armed suspected poachers were shot in the Kruger National Park (KNP) by rangers yesterday, 13 October 2010. One of the poachers was fatally wounded, while the other is being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds.

The Chief Executive Officer of SANParks, Dr David Mabunda, said that it was unfortunate that there has been a loss of a life. However, it was important not to detract from the real issue here – the fact that our national heritage is under serious attack.

“The time has come for those who think they can come into the parks to kill defenceless animals and get away with it to realise that we are serious when we say we will stamp out this unacceptable practice.”

The armed suspects were confronted by rangers while on routine patrol and shots were fired, said Mabunda. One suspect was wounded and died on the scene, whilst the other managed to evade arrest. The second suspect was later traced to a hospital in the area where he was busy receiving treatment for his wounds.

“We want to send a stern warning to would be poachers that we are as organised as they are and we will fight fire with fire all in an effort of protecting our natural resources,” said Dr Mabunda.

A rifle, cellular phone and ammunition were found in possession of the deceased at the scene of the incident inside the park.

In the period from January 2010 to date, a total of 232 rhino have been poached throughout South Africa, 104 of them being from the KNP. In the same period a total of 119 arrests of suspected poachers have been made and of these 45 were done in the KNP.

Colonel Musa Zondi of the Department of Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) in the South African Police Service (SAPS) said that this is just but a minute part of the extensive investigations being carried by the law enforcement agencies and that one must understand that the work that is being done by all involved in the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit (NWCRU) is starting to bear fruits.

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica, officially launched the interim National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit at the ‘Minister’s Rhino Summit’ on the 6 October 2010 and has expressed great satisfaction in the sterling work they have done thus far.

SANParks regrets the death of the suspected poacher but would like to request the public to assist the police and SANParks with any information which may lead to the arrest of poachers.

For previous media statements on this matter please go to www.sanparks.org

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Communications on behalf of the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit (NWCRU)

Media enquiries:
wanda mkutshulwa – Head of Communications, SANParks, tel: (012) 426 5201 or      cell: 082 908 2692, e-mail: wandam@sanparks.org


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