South Africa 2.2.2015 01:03 pm

Would-be rhino poachers arrested

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

Two suspects have been arrested after an intelligence-driven operation by Durban Organised Crime Unit and Special Task Force in KwaZulu-Natal.

Information gathered revealed the suspects were planning to kill two rhino in one of the Safari parks in Pongola, said the Unit.

Police seized a .375 hunting rifle with 5 live rounds of ammunition, a silencer and an axe suspected to have been purposed for dehorning.

The suspects were taken to Pongola Police Station for detention, and they face charges of illegal hunting of rhino and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

Both suspects are expected appear in the Pongola Magistrates’ Court today.

KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni applauded the police for the arrests.

“We are thrilled that we managed to prevent crime before it could be executed. We will not stop to fight criminals and do what we swore to do – serve and protect,” said Ngobeni.

In a separate incident, two suspected rhino poachers were arrested after the discovery of two fresh rhino carcasses between Pretoriuskop and Berg-en-Dal, in the Stolsnek area, in the Kruger National Park, last month.

It is believed a ranger on duty heard a gunshot and called for backup.

The rangers managed to track down the poachers about a kilometre from the scene. They were allegedly met with gunfire and were forced to retaliate.

A .458 hunting rifle, together with five spent cartridges, an axe and two rhino horns were seized.

The department of environmental affairs announced last month that a record number of 1215 rhino were poached in 2014.

The year 2014 saw a total of 386 arrests compared to 343 in 2013, said the department.

– Caxton News Service

 

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