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Fri Oct 21 02:32:54 SAST 2016

KZN poaching operation smashed

Simon Bloch | 11 February, 2016 00:58
The province has again been hit hard by poachers since the beginning of the year, with 18 dead rhinos reported to date. File photo
Image by: Theo Jeptha / Gallo Images / Foto24

A joint security operation between the Rhino-6 Task Team and Nyathi anti-poaching unit has successfully disrupted an illegal wildlife-poaching operation in northern Zululand.

A spokesman for Nyathi APU said the latest joint operation netted three heavily armed suspects near Mfekayi on Tuesday.

"We recovered a heavy calibre ...375 hunting rifle with silencer, five ...375 ammunition cartridges, two axes and various protected animal species, such as honey badgers, bush babies, red duikers and crocodile skins," he said.

The suspects are expected to appear in court today.

The province has again been hit hard by poachers since the beginning of the year, with 18 dead rhinos reported to date.

In what has been termed "a decisive action", a Zululand court on Friday handed down the maximum jail terms to two foreigners linked to a poaching syndicate.

Alberto John Chomudomdo, a Zimbabwean, and Mike Ndlovu, a Mozambican, were each handed 26-year effective jail sentences when they appeared for sentencing in the Ingwavuma Magistrate's Court.

They were arrested at Tembe Elephant Park in northern Zululand last July during a joint operation between the SAPS, the Hawks and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

The presiding magistrate, MA Khumalo, sentenced each of the men to 10 years for illegally hunting rhinos, (a protected species), 10 years for illegal possession of an unlicensed .375 bolt-action firearm and six years for illegal possession of .375 ammunition.

Ezemvelo CEO Dr David Mabunda praised the magistrate for the "heavy" sentence.

"We hope this sentence serves to show that rhino poaching does not pay. I also wish to congratulate the Hawks for a job well done," Mabunda said.

TMG Digital/The Times


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