South African National Parks (SANParks) has welcomed the sentencing of a rhino poacher to a total of 33 years in prison for rhino poaching and related offences. He was sentenced in the Skukuza Regional Court on Friday 9 November.
Patrick Nkuna was arrested in 2015 in the Kruger National Park (KNP) Pretoriuskop section during an extended ground and air follow up anti-poaching operation. Shortly before the arrest of Nkuna and his accomplices, he attempted to shoot at a SANParks helicopter involved in the follow up operation.
The Managing Executive of KNP, Glenn Phillips commended the courts for sending a clear message and imposing such a stiff jail term. “This is a huge victory and deterrence factor in the ongoing anti-poaching campaign. We warmly welcome this ruling as it will provide the much needed boost to the anti-poaching teams who endure harsh conditions for the protection of our parks”.
Nkuna was charged with 12 counts, including four counts of attempted murder, trespassing in a National park and possession of an illegal firearm.
“Our wish is to see a significant increase in such convictions and for the law enforcement authorities in affected countries to cooperate and work with us to end this scourge”, concluded Phillips.