Good News for Our Rhinos

Today we focus on some good news for our rhinos.

Yesterday SANparks released a statement  to say they had arrested two Field Rangers suspected of rhino poaching.

The two suspects were based at the Houtboschrand section and are alleged to have shot and dehorned a white rhino in May 2018.  

The suspects were arrested on Monday morning as a result of an intensive joint investigation carried out by the SANParks  Environmental Crime Investigative Unit and the SAPS. Their arrest follows a report in May in which shots were reported by tourists and a poached rhino carcass was then found with its horns missing. The two suspects had been deployed in the area at the time of the reports. 

The Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park (KNP) Glenn Phillips congratulated the investigating team on the arrests “we have a zero tolerance for corruption and criminality within our ranks and are very disappointed at some of our members who betray the trust of all South Africans and nature lovers, we want to warn others that we are coming after you” concluded Phillips. The two suspects will be appearing in court in due course.  

Meanwhile, three poachers were arrested on Monday by Rangers who had been following suspect tracks for most of the day. The Rangers who were supported by K9 and Airwing reaction teams made the arrests shortly before last light. The suspects were in possession of a heavy calibre hunting rifle, poaching equipment and ammunition at the time of arrest. The suspects will be facing charges related to illegal hunting in a National Park.      

Last week an alleged rhino poaching kingpin was arrested, police raided his three properties in Mpumalanga and seized firearms, ammunition, fake identity documents and bank cards. 

The kingpin who’s name is Petrus Mabuza, 54, worked with a 21 year old Unisa student, Nozwelo Mahumane, they were both arrested in a sting led by the Hawks (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation) last week Tuesday. They appeared in the Hazyview Magistrate’s Court and they were both charged with contraventions of the Forearms Control Act, conspiracy to commit crime and various Credit Act contraventions. 

Members of the Hawks together with Counter Intelligence the Special Task Force the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory and SanParks conducted the operation, she said “The two are also accused of trafficking rhino horns in Mpumalanga. Mabuza was remanded in custody and Mahumane given R20000 bail.”

Joseph said the organisation had been gathering intelligence for months on the activities of Mabuza’s alleged syndicate and had provided the information to the Hawks “We will monitor the proceedings as we did in the case of the alleged rhino kingpin of Zululand, Dumisane Gwala, with the trial expected to finally start in the coming weeks after more than 20 delays.”

Welcoming the Hawks’ success, Joseph claimed Mabuza’s alleged poaching operations centred largely on the Kruger National Park but had since infiltrated KZN, mainly the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve “Mabuza rents out vehicles and rifles to prospective rhino poachers who then sell the horns to him. He also allegedly acts as a middleman by buying from other poachers.”

In October, Saving the Wild published the Blood Rhino Blacklist exposé that exposed magistrates and prosecutors, who had pocketed bribes from people allegedly involved in poaching.

We would like to say a big well done to everyone in involved in protecting our rhinos. 

Have you seen the video of the tourist which stroke a wild lion 

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