There has been a significant rise in poaching in the Kruger National Park (KNP) over the Easter weekend, SA National Parks (SANParks) said on Tuesday. Over the past two long weekends more poachers had made incursions into the park, SANParks said in a statement.
"The heightened activities started on 21 March and until yesterday [Monday] 1 April, there were 56 incursions recorded by the KNP rangers' corps."
Commander of operations Johan Jooste said: "While the rest of the country was relaxing, our men in uniform were kept busy by greedy bandits that want to plunder our natural heritage.
"We would like to commend our rangers and allies from the SANDF and SAPS for the assistance this past two long weekends. If it was not for their dedication, we could be counting huge losses."
Poaching tracks were noticed, shots were fired on six occasions, and groups of poachers were spotted four times, with some of them escaping back into Mozambique.
There had been four clashes with poachers.
In one of these, a poacher was shot dead on Saturday. Another poacher was believed to have committed suicide on Monday.
On Sunday, rangers arrested a poacher with a rifle, ammunition, and poaching equipment.
"In the same incident, a badly mutilated rhino cow was discovered nearby with its horns hacked off but still alive and bleeding profusely from its wounds," SANParks said.
"There was no alternative for the rangers except to euthanise the animal."
The search for the arrested poacher's accomplices was continuing. More....