KwaZulu-Natal Police has prioritised rhino poaching as one of the crimes that will receive focussed attention and has partnered with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to fight rhino poaching throughout the province of KZN. Amongst other strategies regular operations are held to target suspected poachers.
Members of the SAPS Provincial Tracking Team, Operational Response Services together with EKZNW and Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing conducted a week long operation from the 18 to 26 January 2014 within the UMkhanyakude and Zululand District Municipalities of KZN. The aim of the operation was primarily to arrest suspects on rhino poaching and seizure of all exhibits deemed to be related to rhino poaching.
The operation members started within the Nibela, Nkunduse area and False Bay South, conducting cordon and search operations on five suspected homesteads. The team then focussed on the Mtubatuba area and completed an additional cordon and search on an homestead in the area.
The team then proceeded to Hluhluwe where two suspects were arrested and an illegal firearm recovered. 43 illegal boats and 25 gill nets (4.3km length) were also seized during the operation. A further operation was conducted in the Jozini area which resulted in the seizure of two nyala horns, 15 hippo tusks, python skin, hippo tail, common reedbuck skin, hyena skin, honey badger skin, antbear foot and a homemade illegal firearm.
The Provincial Commissioner of Police in KwaZulu-Natal, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni commended the operation. “We will do whatever that is within our control and work closely with other role-players to stem the tide of poaching of endangered species in this province,” she said.