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Media Release: SANParks rangers arrest five illegal divers

30 July 2009

South African National Parks (SANParks) marine rangers from the Addo Elephant National Park arrested four divers and a skipper today for diving and fishing illegally in the Bird Island Marine Protected Area.

SANParks has also confiscated the rubber duck vessel and all diving equipment used by the suspects in the illegal operation.

Another six divers, who escaped from the rubber duck and took refuge on Stag Island, will be arrested tomorrow morning for trespassing in a national park.

At approximately 11am today, Park rangers based on Bird Island sighted a rubber duck in the Bird Island Marine Protected Area. The Park’s marine unit responded and gave chase with their high speed vessel. Rangers were forced to fire shots to halt the fleeing rubber duck.

Park rangers also found six divers who had surfaced on Stag Island nearby Bird Island.

With the assistance of the South African Police Service, the four divers and skipper were taken to the Kinkelbos Police Station to be charged.

Marine and Coastal Management also assisted in the arrest process and are currently monitoring the six suspects on Stag island until they can be arrested tomorrow morning.

The Bird Island group 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 and a breeding colony of Cape fur seals.

Issued by: South African National Parks

Enquiries: Megan Taplin, Regional Communications Manager, Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra National Parks, tel: (042) 233-8609