Poachers suspected in poisoning of more than 100 vultures in Kruger Park
SANParks rangers found 119 vulture carcasses next to a poached buffalo last Wednesday in the Vlakteplaas section of Kruger National Park (KNP).
SANParks spokesperson Ike Phaahla told TimesLIVE the carcasses were probably a week old when rangers discovered them on July 17. The poachers cut out the meat from the buffalo and laced the rest of the carcass with poison.
SANParks are investigating the poisoning.
Phaahla said poachers sometimes poison carcasses to “conceal their criminality to give themselves enough time to escape”.
"The Kruger is a 2-million hectare property which makes it difficult for rangers to cover every inch. Vultures usually alert them to any carcass," he said.
Phaahla said in a statement on Wednesday the vultures included:
- 117 white-backed vulture;
- One hooded vulture; and
- One white-headed vulture.
“Two of the vulture carcasses are being investigated to establish the type of poison that was used to kill the birds,” Phaahla said.
Meanwhile, the KNP rangers arrested nine alleged poachers with heavy-calibre hunting rifles, ammunition and poaching equipment since Saturday.
Three suspects were arrested in the Crocodile Bridge section on Saturday, three arrested by Letaba rangers on Monday, and Tshokwane rangers arrested three suspected poachers on Tuesday.