Farmer sentenced for rhino poaching

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A Limpopo game farmer has been given an eight year sentence for his involvement in rhino poaching, according to a report on Wednesday.

Jaques Els, 39, of Thabazimbi, was also ordered to pay the Green Scorpions R1 million, by the Makhado Magistrate's Court on Monday, Beeld reported.

Els was granted bail of R300 000, pending his intention to lodge an appeal. He will appear in court again on June 2.

This came as the department of environmental affairs took over the release of all information and statistics about rhino poaching.

Albi Modise, director of communication at the department of environmental affairs, said on Monday that rhino poaching had reached a crisis point, Beeld reported.

Several organisations had been very critical of this decision, and had accused government of trying to cover up or manipulate information, Modise said.

"The only reason why information about rhino poaching is being centralised, is because the issue has become a crisis. We want a single message to reach civil society."

The Rhino War News Bulletin, run by Tim Condon, a former KwaZulu-Natal game ranger now based in Canada, reported on Monday that 109 rhinos had been poached in South Africa since the beginning of 2012.

Modise said Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa would speak to journalists about the issue over the weekend.

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