Four Kruger Park officials arrested for rhino poaching

Four SANParks Kruger National Park (KNP) officials were arrested in connection with rhino poaching activities yesterday afternoon.

The arrest follows an earlier discovery of two freshly killed rhino  found in  Pretoriuskop.  The animals had been shot and their horns removed

In a press release today SANParks says the arrest of four KNP based officials,  all stationed in Pretoriuskop, resulted from an investigation  by members of SANParks and the SAP. Also involved was the SAP K9 Unit for Endangered Species.

One of the suspected employees, a field ranger, is one of the employees who has embarked on a strike against SANParks in the KNP.  Another  suspect is a traffic cop and member of the Protection Services unit. He is the second traffic cop in the park to be arrested in connection with rhino poaching activities.

Further investigations into the killing of the two rhino and possibly other rhino poaching incidents in the area are taking place.

In the Pretoriuskop area total of 11 rhino have been killed since January 2012.  This year a total of 43 rhino have been lost to poaching in the whole of the KNP.

In the whole of South Africa 80 rhinos have been have been lost to poaching since the beginning of 2012, while 50 arrests effected throughout the country.

“It is a very sad day for South Africa to find out that the unscrupulous and revolting hands of the poaching syndicates have stretched as far as to taint the hands of those trusted with the great responsibility of being guardians of our natural heritage” says Dr David Mabunda, the Chief Executive Officer of SANParks. “I am personally saddened to discover that some of our own would so callously abuse the confidence and faith that we have entrusted upon them, he adds..

SANParks and the South African conservation fraternity continue 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.

SANParks has established a crimeline in order to improve the level of cooperation with the public as well as to make access for would be informers much easier. For tip-offs please call 082 908 3053 or send an e-mail to antipoaching@sanparks.org.

Below are the current statistics for rhino poaching:

SA 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
KNP (SANParks) 36 50 146 252 43
MNP (SANParks) 0 0 0 6 3
GP 0 7 15 9 0
LIM 23 16 52 74 14
MP 2 6 17 31 2
NW 7 10 57 21 9
EC 1 3 4 11 0
FS 0 2 3 4 0
KZN 14 28 38 34 8
WC 0 0 0 6 1
NC 0 0 1 0 0
83 122 333 448 80

Below are the current statistics for arrests related to rhino poaching:

South Africa – Arrests 2012 2011 2010
KNP (KNP) 9 82 67
MNP 0 0 0
Gauteng (GP) 6 16 10
Mpumalanga (MP) 16 73 16
Eastern Cape (EC) 0 2 7
Limpopo (LP) 3 34 36
North West (NW) 15 21 2
Freestate (FS) 0 0 0
KZN (KZN) 0 4 25
Western Cape (WC) 0 0 2
Northern Cape (NC) 1 0 0
Total 50 232 165
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