'Bloody' rhino horn was a branch, Hawks say

2012-03-01 18:14
Johannesburg - What appeared to be rhino horn found by police in Bedfordview, Johannesburg on Thursday turned out to be fake, the Hawks said.

"It was cut from a tree and we are questioning the suspects to find out what they were actually up to," spokesperson McIntosh Polela said.

"One of them was wearing a SA National Parks [SANParks] uniform, so we are working with them to determine if he is employed by them."

On Thursday morning, police arrested the four people after their car crashed into another car on the N3. Afterwards, the driver of the other car saw them hiding a cooler bag under a nearby tree.

When police went to look they found the "rhino horn" in the cooler bag. It was "still bleeding", a police spokesperson said earlier.

However, Polela said later: "It is fake."

Meanwhile, on Thursday four SANParks officials appeared in the White River Magistrate's Court in Mpumalanga for rhino poaching and defeating the ends of justice.

The case against them was postponed to March 8 for a formal bail application, Polela said.

The four were arrested on Tuesday afternoon after a rhino cow and her calf were found shot and dehorned in the Kruger National Park earlier that morning.

All four officials were stationed in the Pretoriuskop section of the park, where 11 rhino had been killed since the beginning of the year.

Tuesday's discovery brought the total number of rhino killed in the park since January 1 to 43, and nationwide to 80.

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