Kruger National Park rangers outfox seven suspected poachers
Seven suspected poachers have been arrested in three separate incidents in the Kruger National Park in the first nine days of the year.
South African National Parks (SANParks) said the first group of three people were arrested on January 2 in the Lower Sabie/Skukuza area of the park after an extended day-long operation by rangers supported by K9 and air wing rapid reaction units.
SANParks said that during the contact a heavy-calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered.
The second group of three suspects was arrested on January 7 by a joint Stolznek and Pretoriuskop ranger team supported by K9 and air wing rapid reaction teams.
"This group was found in possession of a high-calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment," said Kruger National Park spokesperson Ike Phaahla.
In the third incident, on January 9, rangers supported by K9 and air wing units made one arrest out of a group of three suspected rhino poachers after an operation in the Tshokwane section of the park.
SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni congratulated the rangers and urged communities to continue co-operating with authorities and giving information that could help stop poachers.
“These criminals reside in our neighbouring villages. We urge our neighbours to help us save jobs and create opportunities through tourism because people come to the park to see these magnificent animals. If we lose them through the actions of these selfish individuals we will no longer be an attraction," Mketeni said.
Phaahla said all the suspects were handed over to the police for further investigation and will be appearing in court in due course.