Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife chief Bandile Mkhize is calling in independent wildlife crime investigators to probe the recent slaughter of nine rhino in the province, including the possible involvement of Ezemvelo staff in a criminal poaching syndicate.
“I cannot rule out anything and if we suspect the involvement of staff we will deal with them accordingly. We will flush them out. We will not tolerate any rotten apples in Ezemvelo,” he told The Mercury on Tuesday.
This followed the weekend discovery that seven rhino had been killed in the flagship Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, one rhino in the far northern Ndumo Game Reserve and another inside the Isimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site.
The seven were found in the Ngqumeni area, the southernmost section of the old Hluhluwe reserve.
Though one of the rhinos appeared to have been killed about a month ago, the other six all appeared to have been killed very recently and there was evidence that three were killed on Sunday.
“This really came as a shock to us. The fact that they were all killed in the same section of the park makes one wonder what is going on and I have been very busy today seeing how we will sort things out,” Mkhize said.
Late on Tuesday afternoon, Mkhize said he hoped to finalise the appointment of independent investigators before the end of this week. More....