According to Trevor Lane, from Bhejane Trust, who assists national parks in Zimbabwe with amongst other things patrol deployment, the 50 sables were caught in Zambia at Nchila Estates.
The sables were then taken to Zimbabwe where they were to be smuggled to South Africa.
Of these sable, 22 were earmarked for Theo Bronkhorst, who has been in the news for the killing of Cecil the lion, and 28 for Edwin Hewitt.
“All the Zambian documentation is perfectly in order and the Zambian side is totally above board,” Lane, who has seen the documentation, said.
According to Lane the sables were held in bomas on a ranch about 50km from Victoria Falls.
The three South Africans in 4×4 towing trailers then crossed the border into Zimbabwe at Pandamatenga in Botswana and loaded 28 of the animals, Lane said.
“They were transported in three very poorly ventilated trailers. With documentation, they then drove to an illegal crossing point on the Limpopo River, going through back roads and communal areas to avoid detection, and then they got stuck trying to cross the river, which is when they were detected and arrested,” Lane says.
The three South Africans were remanded in custody, and Bronkhorst was picked up for questioning.
According to media reports charges brought against Bronkhorst have been dropped.
It has been reported that two of the sables had died by the time the animals were sent to a boma on Nottingham Estates in Zimbabwe where they were being cared for.
“It is believed the value of the first consignment load could have been in the region of $1million (R13 million),” Lane said.