Four poaching suspects held at Hluhluwe

2014-06-06 00:00

FOUR suspected rhino poachers aged between 18 and 40 were arrested this week after cutting the fence and gaining entry into a private game reserve in ­Hluhluwe.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the police observed two cars arriving at the game reserve. Three axes and a hunting rifle with a silencer were confiscated from the suspected poachers. The four were charged for poaching and possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition and will appear at the local magistrate’s court soon.

During a wine promotion and fund-raising event for anti-rhino poaching held in La Lucia recently, Lawrence Munro of Ezemvelo’s Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing: Aerial Surveillance and Reaction, said the said rangers had adopted a zero tolerance attitude towards poachers.

He said 450 rhino had been killed in the province since the beginning of the year.

Game reserves in Zululand and the Midlands have lost 44 rhino to poachers in this period.

“In the two areas alone we have arrested 32 poachers and 22 high-powered rifles were recovered. A couple of poachers had been killed during operations. The situation is dire and if we are to win this battle we need to address the socio-economic issues which are the underlying cause of the poaching problem,” he said.

He said the war against poaching has intensified — his wing provides air support for rangers on the ground.

“It’s ironic because things have changed now. We have a dead rhino and it’s also common to find a dead poacher, although the desired results of patrolling game reserves is to apprehend and get people charged in courts,” Munro said

With 650 guests from as far as the Western Cape, R40 600 was raised and the proceeds will go to the Ezemvelo’s Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing: Aerial Surveillance and Reaction unit.

Lawrence Munro, operations co-ordinator in Ezemvelo’s Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing: Aerial Surveillance and Reaction, Cheryl Kirsten and Vanessa Blevins of the La Lucia Mall during a wine promotion and rhino anti-poaching fundraising function last week.

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