Farm manager 'dedicated to conservation'

2012-01-27 12:01

Cape Town - The Entabeni Safari Conservancy in Limpopo on Friday disputed a police report stating that the reserve’s manager, Jan Lessing, had been arrested for possession rhino horns and elephant tusks.

Lessing, 54, appeared in the Naboomspruit Magistrate's Court on Thursday. He is out on R3 000 bail.  

The conservancy’s Pete Richardson said 54-year-old Lessing had “dedicated his life to conservation” and is unsure how the police came to believe that the rhino horns in their possession were illegal.

He said the arrest could have arisen from Lessing possibly not filling out all the necessary paperwork.

Richardson said the horns found were from a rhino that had died eight years ago and from a baby rhino that died last year. The tusks were also from elephants that died some years ago on the reserve.

“Autopsies were carried out on all of them and certified autopsy reports were filed and the horns placed in the reserve safe for safe-keeping,” Richardson said.

The baby rhino, Yster was an orphan that had been “hand-raised” by Lessing and his team after they were asked by the environmental affairs department to look after it.

As per regulations, Yster’s horn was micro-chipped and removed by a certified veterinary surgeon.

It was kept in a safe with the tusks as it is illegal to bury a rhino horn or to sell it.

He also stated that Lessing had not been charged with illegal possession of firearms.

“All necessary paperwork to resolve this matter is being urgently undertaken so this can be laid to rest and all at Entabeni Safari Conservancy can get on with the work of saving, rehabilitating and protecting Africa’s heritage,” Richardson said.

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  • David - 2012-01-27 12:13

    Keystone cops... SAPS?

      Peter - 2012-01-27 13:15

      I take my hat off to Jan for NOT GETTING GREEDY and trying to sell them on the black market. What he had could sell for a lot of money, and he avoided temptation. KUDOS to you sir!

      Ann - 2012-01-27 13:26

      Smoke / fire? Still not enough to catch these swines in action and then get a very long conviction and more than just a small financial slap-on-the-wrist!

      Sean - 2012-01-27 13:50

      One does still get hounest people !!

  • karen.glautier - 2012-01-27 12:14

    Yeah, catch the guys who have horns legally, and don't do any hard work finding the criminals.

  • neil.hamman - 2012-01-27 12:27

    Sounds like a success, until you start digging deeper and find its a muck up

  • Jou - 2012-01-27 12:29

    The SAPF were hoping to arrest another white man involved in rhino poaching to try and make it seem as if whites are the real culprits. The oppressive ANC regime and their foot soldiers are gaining momentum and the tide is turning.

      Peter - 2012-01-27 13:56

      Ja nee ouboet, I guess those white vets arrested a while back are all innocent then. Asseblief tog, nie alle wit mense is engeltjies nie ... I think you're getting a bit obsessed with "defending" our race now. You never been ripped off by one of our own before?

      Achmad - 2012-01-27 13:57

      The issue of our disappearing wildlife is very important and should not be demeaned by narrow bigotry. Let go of the racism and cynicism.

  • noagark - 2012-01-27 12:34

    Trust the SA cops to arrest a conservationist while the poachers kill at their leasure. Could it be because the Chinese are behind the slaughter of the rhinos?

  • OhbiZz - 2012-01-27 12:37

    The plot thickens. I still find it odd that the man who has "dedicated his life to conservation" failed to give all this information to the police when they initially questioned him. Also the fact that Lessing might have caused this confusion as he had not filled the required documents whereas the same guy initially stated that he found the items in the safe when he took over as farm manager is cause for further confusion. Why was this his responsibility when the events occured before he resumed his duties? How can he attest to these facts if he wasnt even there when the animals started dying? Why did the previous manager not file same? As for keeping the horns in the safe since buying or selling it is illegal....You'd think a game reserve would know what to do in such cases. As a lay man I dont think keeping such items in a safe would be prudent: How then would we differentiate between illlegal and legal horns.

      Sean - 2012-01-27 13:51

      @OhbiZz - If he was greedy , why still have the one horn from 8 years back ?? Your theory sucks !!

      Peter - 2012-01-27 13:57

      Agree, we need to hear more about this story before making judgement. Sounds awfully fishy to me.

  • mulzar - 2012-01-27 12:42

    And where are all the trolls that commented negatively on Lessing in the first "article" now?

      Peter - 2012-01-27 13:59

      I guess they were commenting using the information provided by the earlier report. Nothing "troll" like about that, happens in all articles. Why so defensive of Lessing, is it just that he's an mlungu?

  • StarStruck - 2012-01-27 12:49

    And just about everyone jumped to conclusions in the first article.

      Gungets - 2012-01-27 14:03

      Well, the first article stated that he had been charged with illegal possession of firearms. It also stated that he did not have the necessary paperwork for keeping the rhino horn and tusks, and this article seems to confirm that - "All necessary paperwork to resolve this matter is being urgently undertaken so this can be laid to rest and all at Entabeni Safari Conservancy can get on with the work of saving, rehabilitating and protecting Africa’s heritage,” Richardson said." - Happy with that, but why was the necessary paperwork not done up front. Facts are - he was illegally in possession of rhino horn. If I am caught without a license disk on my car it is a R600 gine. If I can prove that I had it, the fine is R100 for not displaying it. Fine the man for not complying with regulations. This is not a witch-hunt, I am 100% behind those that work in conservation, but in SA, with our rhino conservation issues, we need to do the right thing right. So do these guys.

  • atholl.hay - 2012-01-27 12:55

    This is a very good example of all these online trolls who rush to get their (usually ill-informed) 5 cents worth in before knowing all the facts.

      Gungets - 2012-01-27 14:04

      Atholl - read above.

  • tinus.leroux - 2012-01-27 13:00

    Know this man personally, was my neighbour for a couple of years. No ways that he will part of any poaching ring/syndicate or whatever.

      Gungets - 2012-01-27 14:04

      His paperwork is sloppy. But he knows that now.

  • ian.rundle1 - 2012-01-27 13:08

    Useless bloody SAPS. They, together with the Metro Police form this countries biggest crime syndicate.

      En - 2012-01-28 13:48

      Guessing you missed the part which said his paperwork was not complete, hence making his possession of the horns illegal? Or are you just ignoring that part?

  • Tshiamo - 2012-01-27 13:12

    The headline is as good as saying "Showerhead is committed to fighting corruption" Long live the showerman! Shawara ya re sokidisa waitse!

  • brettinlux - 2012-01-27 13:15

    What was he doing with the horn and tusks?Where was he taking it to after all this time?He should know that it is illegal to be in possession of these items.

      Deon - 2012-01-27 13:30

      It is only illegal to sell or bury it, he did neither. He took it nowhere as it was in a safe.

      brettinlux - 2012-01-27 13:38

      The original article says "He was arrested on Thursday after he was allegedly found with three rhino horns, four elephant tusks and illegal firearms." To me that means he was walking with it or it was with him in a vehicle.If this was in a safe then it is a totally different story.

      StarStruck - 2012-01-27 13:47

      The next headline will probably read like this. “Conservationist found with rhino horns reports them stolen"

      Paul - 2012-01-27 13:55

      It is not illigal to posses or own them, if you have the right paperwork. I deal with people in this industry all the time. GET YOUR FACT STRAIGHT BEFORE YOU START MAKING A ACCUSATIONS.

      Gungets - 2012-01-27 14:35

      Paul - he did not have the right paperwork. In our conservation climate he is just asking for trouble.

      Deon - 2012-01-27 14:37

      Probably very difficult to walk with 3 horns and 4 tusks etc. unless you are Pierre Spies. The original article was closed earlier - too many mistakes?

  • Andries - 2012-01-27 13:29

    I wanted to puke at all the emotional posts against Mr. Lessing with the first article, and here we have another song and dance in another direction. What has become of South Africans?

      Mike - 2012-01-27 13:40

      Well said Andries. Let's see how many post statements retracting their earlier viewpoints. Another example of a herd mentality.

      StarStruck - 2012-01-27 13:52

      The article did in fact say that he was found with illegal firearms which is what I think sparked the comments. To my mind this was a person that could have been held responsible for farm killings in the Limpopo area.

      Peter - 2012-01-27 14:03

      Happens over an over, nothing unique about this one besides the unusual defense of Lessing. You guys his mates? I'm still waiting to hear what comes from the investigations, I know not to trust people just because they are white. Been burnt often enough by my own kind. Lets wait and see.

      Deon - 2012-01-27 14:42

      Bad news is good news for most, so sad.

      Andre - 2012-01-28 19:37

      Peter Baker you have a big mouth! Wait and see!

  • Moss - 2012-01-27 13:37

    Arrest him too!!

  • paul.prinsloo3 - 2012-01-27 16:28

    Jan's is the exception to the rule. We all know the SA Police "Service'- they, as gentlemen do, relinquished the word 'Service' in favor of force after Bees Roux forked out R750,000 for the deceased 'Force' member's bereaved family. Bees labored under the 'false' impression that he had been in the process of being hijacked by someone in the 'Service' (being serviced so to speak), and in the ensuing forceful encounter, bees killed an innocent man. Bees even got his bank and other cards back (from a security guard who did not participate in the encounter, and could not explain how he got to be in possession of Bees' cards-probably a trick played on him by the Tokolos) That was when the police decided that the police were involved in more 'Force' than 'Service'. The Nigerian athlete who stand accused of having been involved in the Henning assassination, just prior to that incident, killed a Mister Olivier in a case of road rage in Pretoria, but the court have been lenient on him, because where will he get the money to pay the Olivier family? He is not even in jail, for which we should be all thankful because as had been proved in that case, it allowed the man to continue 'business' as usual, a form of job creation that showed results. Jan Lessing has caused the POLICE FORCE to be placed in a bad light again.

  • Mfudzi - 2012-01-27 18:40

    conservation of horns he found in the safe, you mean?

  • Mfudzi - 2012-01-27 18:41

    peter, do not be fooled by jan, he was just waiting for a perfect opportunity to dispose

  • Mfudzi - 2012-01-27 18:45

    paul, mere possession of those horns is like possession of dagga without even selling it u go straight to jail. that guy must be close to you or something

      Andre - 2012-01-28 19:30

      Mfudzi, what are you a dealer? You sound like one!!!!!

  • Ronald - 2012-01-27 19:08

    This "hang the accused before he is convicted" attitude is too prevalent in our society. I find the posts by many so called armchair activists hypocritical as the most they can show in helping to save the rhino are these idiotic, jumping the gun comments seen in the previous article. Get of your @sses and do something constructive, like donating time and money to the people at the forefront of this fight. Put pressure on your R400 million per party government to give half as much as they party out towards creating and supporting structures that fight rhino poaching, by staging the same protest action you would for service delivery. Oh no, wait, you also sit on your @ss and only comment about it. We constantly have to hear from government agencies that no funds are available in the fight against the poachers. Think about it, the recent festivities held for the ANC, that is in no way heading for extinction soon, could have paid the salaries of 6660 people to patrol the affected areas for a year at R5000 per person. This does not take into account any fraction you care to mention of the funds missing from government coffers as per the Auditor General's report. Before starting to foam about the mouth preparing your next anti poaching comment, pick up the phone and find an organisation that you can actively participate in. I did, and it didn't hurt at all, promise!

  • Andre - 2012-01-28 19:43

    Ann- Smoke/ Fire where???? in your kitchen maybe? Not with this. Wake up and get some coffee for a change!

  • chriszh86 - 2012-01-30 11:31

    "Take my hat off to Jan"... Are you all blind? It's obvious he was doing something illegal with the horns or he would not have been caught. He was not caught on the farm, so why would he be transporting the horns?!

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