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Four to appear in court for possession of lion bones after Hawks arrest

The Hawks announced on Wednesday that four suspects have been arrested for being in possession of lion bones.


Image via Adobe Stock

Four suspects were arrested in the North West on Tuesday 7 January for being in possession of lion bones. The suspects are due to appear at the Mahikeng Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday 8 January. 

According to the African News Agency (ANA), the Hawks announced the arrest on Wednesday.

Four suspects arrested in possession of lion bones

Provincial Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso confirmed the arrest on Tuesday in Mabule Village in the North West. 

“The first suspect was arrested at his home where he was found in possession of lion bones,” said Rikhotso. 

The team proceeded to arrest three other suspects who allegedly brought the lion bones to the first suspect.

“The lion was reportedly killed in Botswana and the arrested suspects allegedly transported its remains to South Africa in order to find a buyer,” added Rikhotso. 

“They will be charged with contravening the National Environment Management-Biodiversity Act.”

Four arrested for trying to sell paws in separate incident 

On Monday 6 January, the Hawks arrested four people who were trying to sell lion paws in Rustenburg in the North West. 

“Information was received regarding the suspects who were allegedly looking for a buyer for four lion paws that were in their possession,” said Rikhotso. 

“Investigations were conducted resulting in a sting operation where the suspects tried to sell the paws to an undercover agent for R300 000,” she added.

She said the investigation is continuing and at this stage, the Hawks had not linked the case to a separate incident in which eight lions were allegedly poisoned at a game lodge in the vicinity of Swartruggens on Friday 3 January. 

“In due course, we will be able to say whether the two cases are linked or not,” she said. 

The lions were found dead on Saturday morning January 4, their paws and noses hacked off. North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said a case was opened at the Koster police station on 3 January 2020.

The motive for the lion killings remains unclear. Some speculate that previous killings in South Africa have been for the big cats’ body parts, which are allegedly used in traditional medicine.