South African National Parks (SANParks) recently announced the arrests of 13 suspected poachers in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in three different operations on the 28 March 2017. The arrests were carried out in various parts of the KNP which has borne the brunt of rhino poaching but is steadily increasing security and succeeding at apprehending illegal hunters.
During follow up operations in the Pretoriuskop section after dark, Rangers made contact with a group of suspected rhino poachers whereby one of the suspects was fatally wounded and his accomplice was arrested. A high calibre rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment was confiscated. One of the SANParks field rangers was shot and injured in the foot, he was airlifted to hospital where he has been stabilised. His injury is not life threatening and he is receiving medical treatment and counselling.
Five suspected poachers were arrested at the Paul Kruger Gate when they attempted to enter the KNP. The suspects include an SAPS member.
Six suspects were taken into custody at the Phalaborwa gate, they include a SANParks Environmental Monitor who is based at Letaba. The suspects were found in possession of a firearm, ammunition and poaching equipment and apparently on their way into the park.
The Chief Ranger Nicholus Funda, congratulated the rangers saying “this is a befitting honour to our fallen colleagues one of whom we laid to rest on Sunday, that we are carrying out our mission to jealously guard our natural assets. Technology coupled with our member’s determination, is ensuring that we successfully apprehend those intending to poach our rhino. We urge our neighbours to assist us by reporting any suspicious activities to law enforcement agencies as the Rangers are doing their bit inside but that needs to be matched by all of us outside the KNP if we are to succeed in getting rid of this scourge” concluded Funda.