Rhino horn trade

Rhino horn trade suspects to appear in court on Monday 11 Otober. Photo: Unsplash

Just in: OR Tambo officials seize R53m of rhino horn heading to Malaysia

A massive consignment of rhino horn has been discovered at OR Tambo Airport. The R53 million delivery was set to depart to Malaysia on Thursday.

Rhino horn trade

Rhino horn trade suspects to appear in court on Monday 11 Otober. Photo: Unsplash

Customs at OR Tambo have made an almighty bust on Thursday afternoon, after they seized a consignment of rhino horn worth more than R53 million. The SA Revenue Service has confirmed that the sizeable delivery was on its way to Malaysia – before it was spotted by the quick-thinking officials on duty.

OR Tambo officials halt poaching syndicate

This marks the fourth major rhino horn seizure within the last six months. Adding today’s bonanza to the previous busts means that R234 million’s worth of ivory has been prevented from going overseas. The officials have been thanked for their work, but these developments only serve to remind us that illegal poaching is still a huge problem in South Africa.

“The Customs unit of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) made a bust of rhino horn with an estimated value of R53 172 000, in a shipment destined for Malaysia.”

“This is the fourth rhino horn bust by SARS Customs at the O.R.Tambo International Airport between July 2020 and February 2021. The overall weight of the rhino horn seized in these four cases is 277.30kg – with an estimated value of R234 114 206.”

SARS statement

Rhino horn bust: Poaching decreasing, but still prevalent

The Kruger National Park has noted a 33% reduction in the number of rhinos poached in the park in 2020. It attributes the decline to limitations on movement enforced by the country’s national lockdown restrictions in 2020. This figure is the sixth consecutive year of a decline in poaching, Environmental Minister Barbara Creecy said in a media statement on Monday. But that doesn’t mean the issue has suddenly disappeared…

Back in July, SARS also seized another consignment of rhino horn heading to Malaysia, which was worth a staggering R115.6 million. During a physical inspection at OR Tambo, customs officials discovered six boxes containing 41 pieces of ivory, which had been concealed in carbon paper and foil and wrapped in traditional material.