Addo to boost anti-poaching unit as E Cape poachers handed jail time

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Eastern Cape is home to Addo Elephant National Park which, while not in the same league as Kruger when it comes to poaching, has its own poaching problem to deal with and is looking to boost its anti-poaching unit’s ranger strength.

That poaching happens with offenders tracked down, arrested and sentenced in the coastal province comes from government news agency, SAnews. This week it reported “hefty sentences” for rhino poachers in the Makhanda (previously Grahamstown) area.

A six-man rhino poaching gang was handed prison terms of between 16 and 20 years after they were found guilty of conspiracy to commit theft of rhino horn and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, according to SAnews. The suspects were arrested five years ago while travelling to the Makanda area “where there are numerous game reserves housing populations of rhino”. All six were arrested with conviction following court appearances. Five escaped and were recaptured.

“While the gang was in custody, no rhino poaching incidents were reported in Eastern Cape. Since the escape of the five, 13 rhino were poached in the first three months of 2023,” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali is quoted as saying.

Addo anti-poaching security manager Edward Moumakoe said: “We’re calling out to especially unemployed youth in and around the park and to suitable individuals who want to start a career in conservation where they will work in nature. Candidates must be physically fit and those who come prepared will have a better chance of success. Minimum fitness requirements are the ability to run 10km in under an hour, do 35 consecutive push-ups, 50 sit-ups, and seven pull-ups” he says. Appointments will be for a four-year fixed-term contract.

Other minimum requirements are South African citizenship and an ID document, a Grade 12 pass, be at least 19 and have no criminal record – which will be verified with the SAPS (SA Police Service) he said.

Seven recruitment sessions are planned in and around the park starting on 5 July. Regional communications manager Fayroush Ludick (073 37 34999 or [email protected]) will assist.

Meanwhile, the Skukuza regional court this week sentenced a 32-year-old man to 32 years imprisonment for rhino poaching related activities. Freedom Ndlovu was convicted on trespassing charges at the Kruger National Park, three counts of rhino killings, possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition, conspiracy to commit an offence, possession of a dangerous weapon and possession of ammunition. He and two other suspects were arrested in 2016 after rangers were tipped off about suspected poachers. Three arrests were made and two suspects subsequently escaped.