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Former SANParks ranger arrested on suspicion of rhino poaching

A former SANParks ranger has been nabbed by police for allegedly being on a rhino poaching mission.
A former SANParks ranger has been nabbed by police for allegedly being on a rhino poaching mission.
Image: Tshepo Kekana

A former national parks (SANParks) ranger is one of two people who have been arrested on suspicion of being on a rhino poaching mission, the wildlife authority said on Friday.

The pair was arrested on Wednesday in the Tshokwane section of the Kruger National Park.

"A high-calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered on the scene," said SANParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla.

The former SANParks worker - who was employed as a corporal in the ranger services - was fired in 2014 following a disciplinary process on unrelated charges, Phaahla said.

SANParks managing executive Glenn Phillips welcomed the arrest.

"We have been after this particular individual for some time now, and we are happy that he has been captured and we will wait for the law to take its course," said Phillips.

"We call on the justice system to consider the severe damage that is being done by criminals, not only to the sustainability of our rhino populations but also the long-term threat to the tourism industry of this country, and mete out harsh sentences,” he added.

The suspects are expected in court soon.

Meanwhile, another two people were arrested for alleged poaching in Malelane, Nelspruit.

Phaahla said the local rangers, supported by the KNP K9 unit and the air wing, had made contact with two suspected poachers in a follow-up operation.

"The suspects were arrested and a heavy-calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered at the scene," Phaahla said.



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