South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced the arrest of 14 suspected poachers in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in the past seven days. The arrests were a team effort by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the South African Police Services (SAPS) and SANParks.
The arrests, announced by SANParks on 26 October, are all related to rhino poaching as all the suspects were found in possession of ammunition, five high calibre rifles and other poaching equipment. The 14 suspects were apprehended in different sections of the KNP, SANParks said.
“These poachers, who were willing to compromise their morals for quick money, will now sit behind bars for a significant period of time, their families will be without breadwinners and will now be left in poverty. Crime does not pay,” SANParks said in a statement.
“These successes further confirm the fact that the ongoing implementation of the KNP counter poaching tactics including, dedicated and experienced Rangers on the ground, new technologies and the Special Ranger Airborne response and in particular K9 tracking are paying dividends. Over the past 10 months the K9 units have successfully tracked and taken down over 90% of the poachers arrested in the KNP.”
The arrests were hailed as a success by the Managing Executive in the KNP Glenn Phillips who said “We are incredibly honoured to have such dedicated and committed Rangers and Protection services officials who are committed to operate under extreme environmental conditions to ensure the survival of these prehistoric animals and all other fauna and flora. We want to make it clear to poachers and their handlers that the Kruger is becoming a very dangerous place. Rangers are ready and waiting to put you behind bars. We have a long way to go but we will not lose this fight.”