Crime syndicates have been identified as the main culprits in recruiting those that kill the animals.
South African National Parks (SANParks) today announced a record number of arrests related to anti –poaching in the world famous Kruger National Park. The Park has been under tremendous pressure from poachers, as it is home to over ninety percent of the global population of both white and black rhino that still roam in the wild. The animals are being illegally hunted for their horn, driven mainly by demand from South East Asia. Crime syndicates have been identified as the main culprits in recruiting those that kill the animals.
Making the announcement, the Officer Commanding of the SANParks Rangers Corps, Major General (RET) Johan Jooste said the month had been a busy one with 213 tracks followed or spotted by field rangers, 30 shots heard, five contacts and four sightings.
The total arrests for the month of October were nineteen individuals, the largest group consisting of four suspects who were arrested on 11 October in Kabokweni, Mpumalanga, in an intelligence driven operation. Congratulating his team, Major General (ret) Jooste said “this has been a good morale booster for the entire team; though we still discover carcasses in the KNP we have been able to neutralize a huge number of poachers. We have also confiscated rifles, ammunition and poaching equipment in all operations. We are hopeful that the measures we are implementing will eventually yield the expected results, of bringing poaching incidents to acceptable levels”.
Jooste however reminded South Africans that the battle will be won outside the reserves, when the kingpins are brought to book. He urged those with information to make use of the Tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or 32211; contact Crime Line where they will remain anonymous or their nearest police station with information. He also thanked his team for their commitment and dedication to the fight to save South Africa’s Natural heritage.