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Media Release: Minister welcomes the arrest of poachers in Tshwane

Date: 2013-10-04

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3 October 2013 - The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, has commended police for the arrest of five alleged rhino poachers at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Tshwane on Monday night. 

The Minister added that South Africa cannot continue to be held hostage by the syndicates slaughtering our rhino.

The swift action by the police and the Hawks comes as the number of rhino poached for their horn since January 2013 has increased to 725.

The police action brings the total number of alleged poachers arrested to 228. Three alleged couriers are on trial on charges related to the smuggling of rhino horn. 

The Hawks special investigations unit received a tip-off and mobilised with the Pretoria flying squad and K9 unit, arresting the five men, aged between 22 and 52, that were allegedly en route to poach the rhino in the reserve.  Two hunting rifles, a 9mm pistol and ammunition were recovered with two vehicles.

The re-arrest of the 32-year-old man out on bail for rhino poaching in the Potchefstroom district earlier this year is particularly heartening. 

The arrests of the five men, who had attempted to flee on foot along the Delmas Road bordering the nature reserve when police forced their vehicles off the road, is a further indication of the commitment by all security forces in South Africa to deal effectively with the scourge of wildlife crime. 

Rhino in the reserve were dehorned for a second time in September 2013.  The rhino were dehorned in 2010 after two rhino were poached in the nature reserve.

Due to sustainable utilisation and adaptive management practices, South Africa has developed and maintained a proud conservation record, and communities have contributed to the conservation of species while benefiting financially from the restoration and protection of species. Ironically, the very success of our national conservation effort which has resulted in over 73% of the world’s rhino population being conserved in our country has, in turn, resulted in South Africa being targeted by international criminal Rhino poaching syndicates.

An appeal is made to all South Africans to report incidents of poaching and tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.  

Rhino poaching statistics:

SA2010201120122013
KNP (SANParks) 146 252 425 444
MNP (SANParks) 0 6 3 2
GP 15 9 1 4
LIM 52 74 59 80
MP 17 31 28 50
NW 57 21 77 75
EC 4 11 7 2
FS 3 4 0 0
KZN 38 34 66 68
WC 0 6 2 0
NC 1 0 0 0
TOTAL 333 448 668 725


Rhino poaching arrests statistics 
:

SA2013201220112010
KNP (SANParks) 83 73 82 67
MNP (SANParks) 0 0 0 0
Gauteng (GP) 8 26 16 10
Mpumalanga (MP) 20 66 73 16
Eastern Cape (EC) 0 0 2 7
Limpopo (LIM) 54 43 34 36
North West (NW) 18 32 21 2
Free State (FS) 6 0 0
KZN 45 20 4 25
Western Cape (WC) 0 0 0 2
Northern Cape (NC) 1 0 0
TOTAL 228 267 232 165

 

For media queries, contact: 
Albi Modise on 083 490 2871

Issued by:
The Department of Environmental Affairs

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