Seven suspected poachers had met their match in the Kruger National Park rangers who, in nine days, during the New Year anti-poaching campaign.
Three were arrested on January 2 in the Lower Sabie / Skukuza area of the Park after an extended day long follow-up operation by rangers, supported by K9 and air wing rapid reaction units. Heavy caliber hunting rifles, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered.
The second group of another three suspects were arrested on January 7 by a joint Stolznek and Pretoriuskop ranger team, supported by K9 and Air wing rapid reaction support. These men also had high caliber hunting rifles, ammunition and poaching equipment in their possession.
On January 9, the KNP rangers, again supported by K9 and the air wing rapid reaction made another arrest. Three more suspected rhino poachers were nabbed after a lengthy follow-up operation in the Tshokwane section of the Park.
CEO of SANParks, Fikile Mketeni said, “These criminals reside in our neighbouring villages and we urge our neighbours to help us save jobs and create opportunities through tourism because people come to the Park to see these magnificent animals… and if we lose them through the actions of these selfish individuals, we won’t be an attraction anymore. He congratulated the teams and thanked them for their dedication, obedience and tenacity.
All suspects had been handed over to the SAPS for further investigation and would be appearing in court in due course.