A ranger shot and wounded during an operation to apprehend suspected poachers in the Kruger National Park was in a stable condition in hospital today, SA National Parks (SANParks) said.
“He is in a stable condition, but he is still in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit),” said spokesperson William Mabasa.
Ranger Andrew Desmet was shot in the stomach during a joint operation between SANParks and the SA National Defence Force on Friday night.
He was airlifted to a medical facility in Nelspruit (Mbombela) where he underwent an operation.
On Saturday, another spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli, said after this incident another group of rangers made contact with a second group of armed poachers and a shoot-out ensued.
Thakhuli said the poachers managed to escape into the bush and no arrests were made.
A .458 heavy calibre rifle and other poaching equipment were recovered at the scene.
SANParks chief executive David Mabunda extended his well wishes to Desmet on behalf of all park staff.
“Andrew is a long-serving member of our ranger corps. We have always said it is a war out there, and we wish once again to thank Andrew and all our rangers who are in the front-line of the battle.”
He thanked all those who played a role in getting Desmet to safety and wished him a speedy recovery.