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Sun Nov 23 07:52:25 SAST 2014

Now poachers targeting elephant tusks

Katharine Child | 01 March, 2012 01:19
Elephants. File photo
Image by: Reuben Goldberg

Many organised crime syndicates are moving away from drugs and human trafficking and are focusing their sights on dealing in illegal wildlife products because it is a "high-reward, low-risk" crime.

This is according to Kirsty Brebner, rhino project manager for the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

Brebner was speaking after the arrest of four employees of Kruger National Park who are suspected of being involved in rhino poaching.

David Mabunda, CEO of Sanparks, said the four suspects worked in the Pretoriuskop section of the park, where 11 of the 43 rhino killed in the park this year were found.

A total of 80 rhino have been killed by poachers this year.

"I am personally saddened to discover that some of our own would so callously abuse [our] confidence and faith," said Mabunda.

Brebner said there was huge concern because syndicates might now also have started to target elephants in South Africa.

Wildlife and Environmental Society SA's biodiversity programme manager, Chris Galliers, said the extent of poaching in South Africa and Africa as a whole was "frightening". "Sophisticated and well-resourced syndicates seem to be having the upper hand".

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