Alleged poachers found with silenced hunting rifle

2012-10-29 00:00

EZEMVELO KZN Wildlife believes it has struck a major blow against rhino poaching with the arrest of four men in possession of a powerful rifle.

The gun — a .458 rifle with a silencer — is believed to be hired out to rhino poaching syndicates by a Mozambican.

Ezemvelo rhino intervention co-ordinator Jabulani Ngubane said the four suspected poachers were arrested after entering Ndumo Game Reserve, near Tembe Elephant Park on the Mozambique border, last week. Their arrests took to 29 the number of poachers arrested in KZN.

It is believed that the gun — a powerful weapon used to shoot big game including elephant and buffalo — was used in many recent poaching incidents at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, iSimangaliso Wetland Park and at Ndumo.

“I cannot verify this until tests are completed, but many of us are convinced we have literally got the smoking gun. In any case, I can’t tell you how rewarding this capture is; it’s huge. We’ve learnt many things from them already, one being that this rifle is hired out among the syndicates,” said Ngubane.

He said that the gun is owned by a Mozambican living in Maputo.

Ngubane added that the information gained from the arrests is “critical”.

“I would be disappointed if this breakthrough is not followed up with new arrests soon,” he said.

Ezemvelo CEO Bandile Mkhize was thrilled by the breakthrough.

Meanwhile, Ezemvelo, the Wildlands Conservation Trust and the African Conservation Trust (ACT) have formed a strategic partnership to stop poaching.

— Witness Reporter.

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