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Media Release: A suspected poacher fatally wounded in the KNP

Date: 22nd November 2010

South African National Parks (SANParks) announced today that while on patrol in the early evening of 21 November 2010 rangers from the Kruger National Park (KNP) fatally wounded a suspected poacher inside the park.

According to the SANParks Head of Communications, Wanda Mkutshulwa, the rangers were patrolling in the Houtbosrand section of the park, in the eastern border with Mozambique, when they came across three suspected poachers who opened fire on the rangers. The SANParks rangers returned fire and one of the suspects was wounded, while other two escaped.

Efforts to revive the suspect before medical help arrived were unfortunately unsuccessful.

The other two are still at large. The police and rangers have been following their spore. Investigations are continuing.

A rhino carcass was found in an area near the scene but it is unclear at this stage if this is related to the spotted suspects.

Last week SANParks also arrested three other suspects in the Pretoriuskop area of the park. The incident resulted in one suspect being wounded, and a second suspected poacher being arrested inside the park, while the third suspect managed to escape arrest and was later arrested in a nearby area. The wounded suspect is progressing well in hospital under police guard.

Mkutshulwa said that following this breakthrough, the rangers and police managed to also arrest a fourth suspect, who is also believed to be a local buyer. Three suspects appeared in the Skukuza Court on the 17 November 2010. The fourth will appear once released from hospital.

To date 285* rhinos have been poached in the country and 142* suspects have been arrested. “This is an indication that despite the challenging and dangerous conditions our rangers are faced with on their day to day operations they continue to serve our national parks and the country with commendable commitment.”

SANParks and the South African conservation fraternity continues to request the support and cooperation of all members of society in identifying and reporting suspicious behaviour that could lead to the apprehension and conviction of these criminals.

NOTE: * Please note that the statistics provided are as of the afternoon of 21 November 2010

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

Issued by:
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli – General Manager: Media  Relations, SANParks, Tel: (012) 426 5203, cell: 073 373 4999, e-mail: reyt@sanparks.org 

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

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