The arrest this week of a Kruger National Park ranger in connection with rhino poaching is sad but at the same time an indication of the commitment of the majority of the ranger corps to eliminating poaching from the world famous game reserve.
Fundisile Mketeni, SANParks chief executive, was reacting to the arrests of a Kruger regional ranger and a veterinary technician from the animal health directorate of the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
Rangers on a regular patrol heard gunshots and on approaching found two men, one of a green Kruger ranger uniform and the other in khaki, running to a parked bakkie. The rangers called for assistance and another patrol stopped the vehicle and its occupants. Both men were arrested and a rifle and poaching equipment recovered and a white rhino carcass was found at the initial contact scene.
“It is sad and horrible to hear one of our own has been arrested for rhino poaching activities. These are the men tasked with leading anti-poaching operations in the park. I have to applaud the field rangers who made the arrest as it must have been difficult for them to arrest a superior.
“This, to me, is ample evidence of the commitment of Kruger employees in the fight against poaching where ‘no favour, no fear’ is the guiding principle. I remain confident that with this calibre of person in our parks we will win the fight against rhino and other poaching,” Mketeni said.
The suspects cannot be named until they appear in court, expected to be next week.