Rampant rhino poaching rocks Ezemvelo, Eastern Cape cops bust four suspects

2017-10-09 14:41
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Durban - Despite a legal supply of horns from private farmers having been released on the domestic market, the latest poaching figures gathered from around the country indicate staggering numbers of rhinos continue to be killed illegally by heavily armed poaching gangs.

According to informed sources, massive security lapses coupled with increasingly mobile and well-equipped poachers led to the highest monthly total of poached rhinos ever recorded. 

Before the month of September had ended, 36 rhinos had been butchered for their horns in KZN over a period of 29 or fewer days.

Most of the incidents occurred in the killing fields at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP), home to the founding population of the southern white rhino.

Speaking to a group of journalists last month, MEC for the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Sihle Zikalala confirmed two staff members had been dismissed earlier this year. 

"We are going to be focusing on ensuring that people who are working for Ezemvelo are not collaborating with the syndicates" he said.

"The information was classified," he said.

193 rhinos killed to date

By keeping a tight lid on such critical information, he raised further questions and suspicions about the wildlife conservation authority's mandate, and transparency when dealing with matters of public interest.

The team's report will include a full assessment of the current measures and capacities of the anti-rhino poaching initiatives in the province, as well as a critically needed report on the criminal justice processes in relation to poaching incidents. 

Four suspects arrested

Meanwhile, a successful intelligence operation by the members of the Eastern Cape Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit resulted in the arrest of four suspected Mozambican rhino poachers at the weekend, and the seizure of their tools of death.

It is believed the group had been under surveillance before they were pulled over on the R67 road between Fort Beaufort and Queenstown in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Read more on:    durban  |  rhino poaching  |  crime
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