Pretoria - SANParks on Thursday congratulated the South African Police Services (SAPS) who intercepted a group of suspected poachers, believed to be traveling to the Kruger National Park, to illegally hunt rhino.
The suspect’s vehicle was spotted by the SAPS on the N4 and they followed the car to the Malelane main gate were they managed to stop it.
Four male suspects who were in the car were arrested and a 303 hunting rifle, nine rounds of ammunition and poaching equipment was seized.
The car in which they were driving was also confiscated as police believe it would help in further investigations.
“There is a strong suspicion that the group might be responsible for other poaching incidents in the park, including the rhino at Phabeni that was left alive after its horns were hacked off. The four suspects are in custody while the police continue with their investigations,” SANParks spokesperson Ike Phaahla said in a statement.
In a separate incident, Crocodile Bridge Rangers made contact with a group of three suspected poachers.
Two of the suspects were fatally wounded in the ensuing shootout and one managed to escape. A hunting rifle, a pair of horns and poaching equipment was seized.
The arrests bring to 57 the number of people arrested in connection with poaching this year, with the KNP having lost 266 animals.