Rhino horns give the game away

2009-08-27 00:00

THE long-awaited breakthrough, which police and conservationists have been expecting in the rhino poaching epidemic in KwaZulu-Natal, came yesterday when four men were caught red-handed in a vehicle in possession of two fresh rhino horns.

The suspects were arrested when they drove into a roadblock set up by game rangers working at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Umfolozi Game Reserve in Zululand. The roadblock was mounted in response to hearing gunshots in the reserve late yesterday.

Umfolozi has been the scene of a number of poaching incidents that have occurred since January 2008.

Wildlife investigators attached to the Wildlife Crime Working Group and police organised crime units rushed to the scene of the arrests to question the suspects and gather evidence.

The Witness learned that the vehicle in which the suspects were travelling was the first to be stopped at the roadblock. According to initial reports, the evidence against the occupants is strong. They are reported to have been wearing bloodstained clothing and two fresh rhino horns were recovered in the vehicle along with a firearm.

For the dedicated game rangers, who have fought a distressing battle against the poachers during the past two years, and for the wildlife enthusiasts of KZN, the arrests bring hope of an end to the slaughter.

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