By Sikelela Mamba
MBABANE – A rhino horn that had been sent to Hong Kong has been returned to the country after its recipient failed to collect it.
The horn was in a small box wrapped with duct tape, and had been sent as a parcel through the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) postal division and was destined for Hong Kong.
The name of the recipient had not been printed outside the parcel because when it arrived in Hong Kong, no one came to claim it.
It was gathered that the parcel was unclaimed until the Hong Kong Post Office decided to return it to the country. It is believed that the officers did not realise that a rhino horn was inside the box when they wrapped it in a new cover and addressed it to the local post office.
The parcel arrived in the country in August and had been among many returned parcels. A senior member of the post office is said to have seen the horn while going through the returned parcels.
The officer was unsure what the horn was until the post office’s fraud officer confirmed that it was indeed a rhino horn and they called the police who collected it.
The horn is currently kept at the Mbabane Police Station while the police are continuing with their investigations.
The Big Game Parks has been running an advert offering a E100 000 reward for anyone who has information about rhino poaching.
Police Deputy Information and Communications Officer Assistant Superintendent Khulani Mamba confirmed the matter and said no arrests had been made so far, adding that they were still investigating.
Mamba warned members of the public to refrain from poaching as it could lead them to spend their lives behind bars. He mentioned that as police officers, they were very disappointed at what had happened as the suspect had cultivated a very bad image of Hong Kong.
“We will try all we can to identify and arrest the person who sent the horn. The law will take its course on all those found poaching in the country,” said Mamba.
SPTC Corporate Communications Manager Nqobile Magagula confirmed the matter.
“Yes, a rhino horn was reported to the SPTC Fraud Investigations Unit by Swazi Post Returned Letter Office,” said Magagula. The RLO is the department responsible for the custody of undeliverable items, until such time that either the sender or recipient claims them.
At least three rhinos have been killed by poachers in the country in the past 22 years. Both black and white rhinos were not found in Swaziland for nearly 70 years until 1965, when the first pair of white rhinos arrived at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Swaziland’s rhino protection is unmatched by any other country.