Kruger personnel caught with rhino horn


Three Kruger National Park staffers were caught, literally horn-handed, following an extended intelligence operation in the iconic game reserve on South Africa’s eastern border.

The three – two security guards and a technical services worker at an unspecified rest camp – were arrested after a multi-law enforcement agency operation vehicle chase yielded “a fresh set of rhino horns” according to Isaac Phaahla, Kruger general manager: communications and marketing.

The intelligence operation leading to the arrest saw elements from SANParks, SA Police Service crime intelligence and the Skukuza stock theft unit based at Kruger Gate along with an anti-poaching team from privately owned Sabi Sands reserve involved.

Following a court appearance, all three will be subject to internal disciplinary procedures.

“While not commenting on the merits or otherwise of this particular case, it is always disheartening when colleagues are involved in criminal activities. It breaks down trust among employees which impacts on our responsibility to be an effective conservation authority serving the people of South Africa,” Gareth Coleman, Kruger managing executive, said.

Between July and September, Kruger anti-poaching teams arrested 16 suspected poachers inside the park and confiscated seven rifles. The teams observed and followed up on 410 poaching activities, sightings, spoors and camps in the last three months.

“SANParks remains committed to stop poaching and help secure the future of fauna and flora for sustainable use and for the benefit of future generations,” Coleman said appealing to the wider public, Kruger visitors and employees to report wildlife criminal activities to 013 735 0197 or 076 801 9679.