Rhino poaching - vets arrested

2010-09-20 23:00
Johannesburg - Two well-known veterinarians from Modimolle in Limpopo were arrested on Monday, along with seven other people, over their alleged involvement in "hundreds of incidents" of rhino poaching.

National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said the suspects are "the masterminds" of a syndicate believed to be involved in rhino poaching across the country.

"The arrests were a great breakthrough for us. More arrests may follow," Naidoo said.

Dr Karel Toet and his wife, Marisa, were arrested early on Monday morning. Dr Manie du Plessis, one of Toet's partners, was also arrested.

They own the Nylstroom animal clinic, as well as Limpopo Wildlife, which is involved with catching and transporting game on farms.

Naidoo said two businessmen - as well as the one businessman's wife - were also behind bars. The other suspects' occupations are unknown. They were arrested in Polokwane, Musina and Modimolle respectively.

"These people were supposedly involved with killing rhinos, selling the horns and disposing of the carcasses," said Naidoo.

Helicopters

This breakthrough comes after five rhinos were killed for their horns in a nature reserve in the North West at the weekend.

Altogether 210 rhinos have been killed for their horns since the start of the year, compared to 122 poached last year.

Naidoo said the police's specialist unit, the Hawks, conducted the investigation and made the arrests in co-operation with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), SANParks, the department of nature conservation and the national prosecuting authority (NPA).

Farmers in Limpopo's Lephalale and Vaalwater areas, as well as the North West, have recently complained about helicopters with obscured registrations flying over game farms.

The CAA was approached to take part in the investigation.

It was alleged that poachers were dropped on farms by helicopter and then picked up again once they had cut off the animals' horns.

Cold-blooded slaughter

Beeld has heard that the vets from Modimolle have been under investigation for the last few months.

The news of their arrest spread through town like a wildfire on Monday.

Monday's arrests came about a week after Tom Fourie, a well-known figure in wildlife circles in Musina, was arrested. He has already appeared in court and was released on R2 000 bail.

It is not clear whether Fourie is involved with the same syndicate.

Naidoo said the police have their eye on other syndicates that are involved in "the cold-blooded slaughter" of rhinos in nature reserves and game farms.

The investigating team is still searching various properties.

Naidoo said the nine suspects are being held in the police cells in Musina. They will appear in the magistrate's court on Wednesday, at which time the exact charges will be announced.

Faan Coetzee, head of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), was overjoyed about the news on Monday.

"We've been waiting a long time for this," he said.

Read more on:    caa  |  hawks  |  sanparks  |  polokwane  |  rhino poaching  |  poaching
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Goodwood - 11:51 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive Southbound
    DELAYS approaching Voortrekker Road
  • Wednesday Brackenfell - 10:44 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at the R300 Highway - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

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

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.