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Glenn Phillips, Managing Executive at Kruger park, SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni and Hawks’ Colonel Johan Jooste during a media briefing at SANParks Head Office in Sunnyside. Picture: Virgilatte Gwangwa

VIRGILATTE GWANGWA

virgilatte.gwangwa@inl.co.za

POACHERS are now gunning for elephants, and so far, 40 elephants had been poached by the end of May and only one arrest had been made in Phalaborwa.

This was revealed today during a rhino poachers’ arrest media briefing at the South African National Parks head office in Sunnyside.

SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said they have seen an increase in elephant poaching saying poachers poached anything they think is worth money.

“We are seeing an increase in elephant poaching because if poachers enter the park, they will kill anything they see as value.

“We therefore predict that we would lose about 97 elephants by the end of the year should poachers continue to enter the parks,” he said.

(https://inm-baobab-prod-eu-west-1.s3.amazonaws.com/public/inm/media/video/iol/2018/06/05/15324155/0/parksvid.mp4)

Colonel Johan Jooste, Hawks’ Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation briefs media on the progress of arresting rhino poachers. Video: Virgilatte Gwangwa

Even so, Mketeni said they were happy to announce that they had arrested two suspects for rhino poaching.

This comes after the SANParks Environmental Crime Intelligence collaborated with the Hawk’s Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation to look into rhino poaching.

Hawk’s Colonel Johan Jooste said two suspects; Mandla Mashele 32 and Kelvin Malapane 30 were arrested and released on bail and are expected to appear in the Benoni Magistrate’s Court on July 13.

“The people arrested were involved in acquiring rhino horns from the parks and facilitating them to the export markets for the South East Asians,” he said.

In 2016, Pretoria’s Rietvlei rhinos were poached leading to three white rhinos being dehorned.