Arrests for rhino poaching in South Africa increased considerably this week, with 11 alleged poachers arrested in the eastern half of the country. SANParks said eight of the 11 people arrested this week were caught during joint operations.
Since 1 January 2013, 292 rhinos have been poached. The Kruger National park continues to be the worst hit, with 216 rhinos poached. 23 rhinos have been poached in North West Province, 20 in KwaZulu-Natal, 19 in Limpopo and 14 in Mpumalanga. Since January, 94 people have been caught for poaching rhino and smuggling rhino horn. 44 alleged poachers have been arrested in the Kruger National Park, 20 in Limpopo, 13 in KwaZulu-Natal, 8 in North West Province, 6 in Mpumalanga and 3 in Gauteng.
SANParks said that two men were arrested in Marble Hall, Mpumalanga, on 1 May after they allegedly approached a local farmer to sell rhino horns in their possession. The horns and rhino poaching equipment were among the items confiscated during the arrest.
Five suspected poachers were arrested on 1 May while en route to the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. The alleged poachers, who had been under surveillance for almost a month, were found in possession of a hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment.
During a follow-up investigation the same day, three more suspected poachers were arrested near Giyani, Limpopo, during a joint operation with the police. A hunting rifle and poaching equipment were confiscated. Two alleged poachers were fatally wounded in shooting incidents on the same day.
SANParks said two alleged poachers were arrested in the Kruger National Park after they allegedly killed a rhino cow near Pafuri, in the north of the Park, on Saturday. A .458 hunting rifle, ammunition, two rhino horns and poaching equipment were seized.
One alleged poacher was fatally wounded in a shootout with the Kruger Park ranger corp near Crocodile Bridge on Sunday night. Two alleged accomplices fled. A .375 hunting rifle with a silencer, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered.
South Africans are urged to report incidents of poaching and tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.
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