rhino poaching

Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Three rhino poachers caught in the act at Kruger National Park

The needless scourge of poaching does not seem to let up.

rhino poaching

Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Three men were caught in the act after killing three rhinos at the Kruger National Park on Sunday morning.

Park rangers were alerted after gunshots were fired and rushed to the scene to bust the three perps who were busy dehorning the second rhino at the time.

The men were taken to the Skukuza police station and will appear in the Skukuza Magistrate’s Court following charges of poaching, trespassing and illegal possession of firearms.

Local chiefs, councillors and several other delegates were at the scene as forensic investigations were underway. They were invited to help in discouraging the killing of wild animals.

Chief Mathibela Mothiba blamed the law’s leniency towards the perpetrators, saying it sends out the message that crime pays.

“This thing is killing our tourism but the suspects are able to get bail and be on the streets again.  It is all because people who commit these crimes have money and we know that people with money can get away with crime,”

“It is clear that the market has a lot of money. That is why they will stop at nothing to get the horns.”

Frik Rossouw, senior investigator at the park was confident that the law will deal with the perps and they will not escape conviction.

“I believe the suspects won’t escape conviction because investigations are promising to link the horns found in their possession with the crime scene,” he said.

A measure used to combat poaching in some game reserves is to dehorn the rhinos, but Kruger National Park’s head of communications, Jenine Raftopolous says it cannot be implemented there as the rhino are in their natural habitat and need their horns to fight off predators.

“Dehorning them in their natural habited would simply be disabling them. They need the horns to defend themselves against other wild predators. Besides, it has been acknowledged that poachers killed rhinos even when they did not have horns because they shot them from long distances,” Raftopolous said.

The park’s management is working hand-in-hand with communities through the chiefs in order to try and combat poaching.

Also read: Eastern Cape game reserve left with no rhino population after five were poached in one month