Eight men have been arrested in connection with rhino poaching in North West, the province's conservation and tourism spokeswoman Dumisa Seshabela said on Monday.
Two were caught in Botsalano Game Reserve on Friday after they were found in possession of a rifle and a small firearm and could not produce licences for the weapons. Their vehicle had also been reported stolen.
The other six were taken into custody last month after they were caught in Potchefstroom along the N12 with a rifle, pangas, and saws. They were still in custody.
The arrests were made in a provincial operation around Highveld Nature Reserve and Botsalano Game Reserve, Seshabela said in a statement.
"The operation came as a result of an increase in the number of rhino poached in the province this year," she said.
The operation was a partnership between the department and police.
Conservation and tourism MEC Motlalepula Rosho commended the rangers for the arrests, and urged people to report poaching.
"As government we are working around the clock to arrest perpetrators," said Rosho.
A total of 57 rhino had been killed in North West province this year.
The province had increased the number of rangers and security as part of its intervention strategy.