By Nondumiso Zwane
The fight against rhino poaching appears to be strengthening with more poachers being nabbed so far this year compared to 2013.
“A total of 164 suspected rhino poachers have been arrested in the Kruger National Park since January 1st,” SanParks head of communication, Paul Daphne said yesterday.
He said 133 poachers had been caught during the same period last year. His comments came after six suspected poachers were wounded, one fatally, and arrested in the Park last week.
KNP spokesperson Rey Thakhuli said rangers in the Phalaborwa area of the Park made contact with a group of three suspected poachers while conducting anti-poaching operations on December 8.
“One of the suspects was fatally wounded during the contact, while the remaining two suspects managed to evade arrest. Poaching equipment was recovered on the scene,” Thakhuli said.
He said on December 10, rangers in the Lower Sabie Section of the park, close to the Mozambique boundary, also made “contact” with a group of three suspected poachers.
“During this incident all three poachers were wounded and arrested. They are currently in hospital under police guard,” Thakhuli said. “On December 11, in the Pretoriuskop section a group of three suspected rhino poachers were spotted and one of the suspects was fatally wounded.
“A hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered at the scene.
“The remaining two suspects managed to make good their escape in the enveloping darkness.”
He said later that night, during another operation one of the suspects was fatally wounded, while the other two managed to escape.