‘We want justice for the rhinos’

2012-06-13 14:32

Several animal rights activists crammed into the Pretoria North Regional Court where two veterinarians and a professional hunter have appeared.

The accused are among eight people arrested last year on charges relating to the possession and distribution of a tranquillising drug commonly used by rhino poachers.

Charges against five of the suspects were withdrawn in April, reportedly because of insufficient evidence.

The three accused include Dr Douw Grobler, an animal conservation expert and formerly head of wildlife capturing and veterinary services at the Kruger National Park.

He was charged together with private vet Dr Johannes Gerhardus Kruger, and professional hunter and animal farmer Hugo Ras.

It is alleged that the group contributed to rhino poaching by supplying a poaching syndicate with tranquillisers.

The M99 drug, also called etorphine, was allegedly used to dart rhinos to enable the removal of their horns.

The matter was postponed to June 19.

Activists said they would closely follow the case until its conclusion.

Pretoria-based animal rights group Outraged SA Citizens Against Poaching said government had to urgently improve awareness of poaching.

“Much of the awareness has now been left up to the non-profit organisations at the moment. We expect government to hold constant, massive awareness campaigns to communicate the problem,” said citizens against poaching director Allison Thomson.

“They need to speak to all their counterparts benefiting from rhino poaching. We want government to talk to its partners, like China and others.”

Demand for rhino horns in Asian countries, particularly Vietnam, has often been blamed as the root cause for the poaching frenzy in South Africa and other African countries.

Initially, Grobler, Kruger, and Ras were charged together with Dr Buti Chibase, a state vet from Klerksdorp.

In March, they appeared in the Pretoria North Magistrates Court with four others – Matthys Christoffel Scheepers, Riaal Booysen, Johan Carl Heydenrych, and Christoffel Francois Naudé.

It is alleged Ras was arrested after five crates of the scheduled veterinary medicines were confiscated during a police raid on his home.

In February, Boksburg vet Dr Johan Hendrik Meyer was found guilty of unprofessional conduct after he dispensed 26 bottles of M99.

Meyer was fined R25?000 by the South African Veterinary Council.

He was also given a six-month suspension, which was set aside for 10 years on condition that he did not commit a similar crime again.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

UK expert: Boks ‘have KO game’
Ireland hold on to down Italy
As it happened: Ireland 16-9 Italy
All Blacks sympathise with England
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to day...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.