Two men were arrested for the possession of four valuable protected tortoises and twenty-eight lizards in Kalahari.
According to Northern Cape Hawks spokesperson Nothandazo Mnisi, a joint sting operation led to the arrest of two individuals for allegedly dealing in protected animals on Friday.
“An intelligence-driven operation by the Hawks’ Wild Trafficking team and Green Scorpions from the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment resulted in an arrest of two suspects aged 23 and 50 for alleged dealing in endangered species in terms of Nature Conservation Act 9 of 2009,” he said.
He added that the men were arrested after they were allegedly looking for a potential buyer for reptiles.
“A sting operation was conducted at Askham garage in Kalahari where these suspects were found in possession of protected valuable reptiles, including four tortoises and twenty-eight lizards,” Mnisi said.
Other items that were seized in the operation included a Garmin GPS, three cellphones, an endoscope, and six grams of heroin and the money used in the sting operation was also confiscated.
Both men are expected to appear before Upington Magistrate court on Monday, 22 November 2021.
Mnisi said additional charges would be added.
The Environmental Management Inspectorate (EMI) or the Green Scorpions, as they are known to the public, are government officials from national, provincial, and local government, including the parks authorities, who are responsible for compliance and enforcement activities with environmental legislation.
They have a broad legal mandate that covers the green (biodiversity/protected areas), brown (pollution, waste, impact assessment), and blue (integrated coastal management) sub-sectors.
Each of these subsectors, in turn, is regulated by different pieces of national legislation, the provisions of which are monitored and enforced by the Green Scorpions.