Anti-rhino poaching operation achieves unexpected results

The first of a series of intensified anti-rhino poaching efforts in KwaZulu-Natal achieved a major unexpected haul.

KZN SAPS reported that while an operation in northern KZN had the primary goal of arresting suspects possibly involved in rhino poaching, those involved in other poaching activities were also caught up in the sweep. The operation took place between 18 and 26 January.

“Some 43 illegal boats and 25 gill nets 4,3km long in total were seized during the operation,” said KZN SAPS spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker. “A further operation in the Jozini area resulted in the seizure of two nyala horns, 15 hippo tusks, python skin, hippo tail, common reedbok skin, hyena skin, honey badger skin, antbear foot, and a homemade illegal firearm.”

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KZN’s police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, said, “We will do whatever is within our control and work closely with other role-players to stem the tide of poaching of endangered species in this province.”

The department of environmental affairs reported that a total of 1 004 rhino were poached for their horns across South Africa in 2013, compared to the 668 rhino poached nationally in 2012. Of the total 2013 figure, 85 were poached in KZN.

The department also revealed that, at time of going to print, 86 rhino had already been poached in SA this year so far.