South African National Parks (SANParks) on 19 June announced the arrest of two field rangers suspected of being involved in rhino poaching. The two suspects were based at the Houtboschrand section and are alleged to have shot and dehorned a white rhino in May 2018.
The suspects were arrested on Monday morning as a result of a joint investigation carried out by the SANParks Environmental Crime Investigative Unit and the SAPS. Their arrest follows a report in May in which shots were reported by tourists and a poached rhino carcass was then found with its horns missing. The two suspects had been deployed in the area at the time of the reports.
The Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park (KNP) Glenn Phillips congratulated the investigating team on the arrests “we have a zero tolerance for corruption and criminality within our ranks and are very disappointed at some of our members who betray the trust of all South Africans and nature lovers, we want to warn others that we are coming after you” concluded Phillips. The two suspects will be appearing in court in due course.
Meanwhile three poachers were arrested on Monday by Rangers who had been following suspect tracks for most of the day. The Rangers who were supported by K9 and air wing reaction teams made the arrests shortly before last light. The suspects were in possession of a heavy calibre hunting rifle, poaching equipment and ammunition at the time of arrest. The suspects will be facing charges related to illegal hunting in a National Park.