South Africa – Update on the previous articles regarding the evil corruption behind rhino poaching. Good news: another eight men have been arrested in the latest clamp down on rhino poaching.
Two men were apprehended on the Botsalano Game Reserve on Friday. Their firearms were unlicensed and the vehicle in which they were traveling in had already been reported stolen. The other six poachers – caught last month with N12 rifles, pangas and saws, obviously intended to perform painful dehorning methods on the rhino in a cruel manner – remain in police custody until a trial date is set.
The North West region of South Africa remains the most active area for rhino poaching. A recent partnership venture between local Game Reserve rangers and police in that area has resulted in progress towards ensuring that poaching is eliminated.
The concerted effort by the Conservation and Tourism sector to stop this atrocity remains a top priority, and they continually want the public to come forward and expose the perpetrators.
It is reported that 147 alleged rhino poachers have been arrested this year. The Kruger National Park rangers and police arrested more than sixty-four poachers. This game reserve remains a popular tourist attraction and also recorded the highest number of poachers.
Near Mtubatuba in KwaZulu Natal another poacher was caught after a car chase and sh00t-out with rangers. It is believed that patrolling rangers heard shots and followed two men in a vehicle. A high-speed chase ensued for a distance of approximately three kilometers. During this time, shots were exchanged. One of the alleged poachers escaped and the other was admitted to the local hospital with a gunshot wound. He will be charged with attempted murder upon his release from hospital.
The Agriculture and Environmental Affairs MEC Meshack Radebe, referring to park rangers, said that these men and women lay down their lives to protect the rhino. He stated that without their commitment the fight against poachers would fail.
Corruption among government senior officials, escalating down to rangers, remains a persistent problem. The possibility of fully resourced syndicates running the poaching operations should not be excluded, and there is a real risk of trained military personnel playing a significant role in the illegal poaching activities. Their determination to destroy the endangered rhinos is indicated by the change in the weaponry used for this damning action. Previously AK47 assault rifles and 303 rifles were used, but now they use heavier calibre weapons like the 375s and 458s.
As shocking as this appears, it is the people who can make a difference to save the rhino. This action must be stopped, and we appeal to the community to come forward with any information that might help save the rhino.
Written by Laura Oneale