South African National Parks has announced a significant breakthrough in the fight against rhino poaching with the arrest of a high profile individual and his accomplice in the Tshokwane Section of the Kruger National Park on 1 May, in an intelligence driven anti-poaching operation.
The suspect is a former Corporal in the Rangers Services and was dismissed in 2014, after a disciplinary process on unrelated charges. A high calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment was recovered on the scene.
Reacting to the arrests, the Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park Glenn Phillips said “we are proud of the work done by all involved in this operation while the world was celebrating International Worker’s Day. We have been after this particular individual for some time now, and we are happy that he has been captured and we will wait for the law to take its course. We call on the justice system to consider the severe damage that is being done by criminals, not only to the sustainability of our rhino populations but also the long term threat to the tourism industry of this country and mete out harsh sentences.”
The suspects will appear in court in due course as soon as charges have been formally filed.
In another operation on 2 May, Malelane Rangers supported by the KNP K9 Unit and the Air Wing, made contact with two suspected poachers in a follow up operation. The suspects were arrested and a heavy calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered at the scene.