Media Release: Eight suspected poachers arrested
South African National Parks (SANParks) announced today that Kruger National Park (KNP) Rangers, in a three week joint operation with members of the SA Police Service, Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Board Rangers, arrested five suspected rhino poachers en route to commit poaching in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve yesterday (1 May 2013).
This according to SANParks spokesperson, Paul Daphne who said the five were arrested late last night (01 May 2013) and were found in possession of a high calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment.
In yet another intelligence driven investigation in the Giyani area three rhino poaching suspects were arrested by SANParks Rangers in a joint operation with SAPS, where a hunting rifle and ammunition were recovered. “This brings the number of arrests to eight in the last 24 hours,” said Daphne.
He said the Timbavati group had been put under heavy surveillance for a period of three weeks. “We viewed this as a critical group as they had been focusing their operations in the KNP and adjacent Private Game Reserves including the Klaserie area for some time now. We believe these arrests will assist in resolving a number of other unsolved poaching cases.”
Daphne continued to say the proactive actions of all involved had finally paid off and that the possibility of more arrests could not be ruled out as follow up investigations are underway. “This is a clear indication that resilience and patience pays off. We are grateful that no lives were lost during the encounter with these heavily armed suspected poachers.”
Sending a strong warning, Dr David Mabunda, Chief Executive Officer of SANParks said “Our intensified efforts, together with our partners, are starting to bear fruit. The poachers and their bosses will not get away with these crimes. They must know they cannot hide, and we will hunt them down wherever they are.”
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 suspected poachers.
The suspects are due to appear in court soon and the charges are being formulated.
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