Soldier charged for killing hippo

2014-02-25 00:00

A SOLDIER has allegedly killed a hippo in the Kruger Park by hitting it with an army truck.

SANParks has laid a charge against the soldier, who is deployed in counter-poaching operations, at the police station in Skukuza.

The army is also busy with an internal investigation, army spokesperson Brigadier-General Xolani Mabanga said.

He said any damages suffered by the army in the incident will be taken into consideration during a disciplinary hearing.

The hippo cow was killed near Lower Sabie on February 15.

Police spokesperson in Skukuza, Inspector Oubaas Coetzer, confirmed the incident, but said no one has been arrested yet. He said the military police were investigating a case of reckless or negligent driving.

Coetzer said the Sabie River runs close to the road on which the hippo was killed and there were often hippos in the area.

Kruger Park spokesperson William Mabasa said apart from a charge of reckless or negligent driving, SANParks also wants the driver to be charged for killing an animal.

The army currently has just fewer than 200 soldiers deployed to help game rangers battle poachers.

Mabasa said it was very important that people adhere to the speed limit in the reserve.

In May 2012, a truck driver was fined R2 500 after had he drove over seven impala in the Kruger Park. He was also declared persona non grata in the park.

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