The South African

A much-needed victory…

South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that two field rangers suspected of rhino poaching have been arrested.

In a statement, the group revealed that the two rangers were based at the Houtboschrand section of the Kruger National Park. It is believed that the men shot, killed and dehorned a white rhino in May.

The suspects were arrested on Monday following an “intensive” joint investigation carried out by SANParks Environmental Crime Investigative Units and SAPS.

The investigation began in May after shots were reported by tourists and a poached carcass was then found. Both men were deployed in the area at the time the shots were reported.

Kruger National Park (KNP) Managing Executive, Glenn Phillips, had nothing but praise for the team that worked on the investigation.

“We have a zero tolerance for corruption and criminality within our ranks and are very disappointed at some of our members who betray the trust of all South Africans and nature lovers, we want to warn others that we are coming after you.”

On Monday, three poachers were arrested by rangers who had been tracking them for most of the day.

These “clean” Rangers were supported by both K9 and Airwing reaction teams. The arrests were made shortly before last light.

“The suspects were in possession of a heavy calibre hunting rifle, poaching equipment and ammunition at the time of arrest. The suspects will be facing charges related to illegal hunting in a National Park,” SANParks said in a statement.

Sadly, the latest instance of rangers being involved in poaching is not part of a bigger issue. According to various experts on rhino poaching, corruption has wormed its way into the wildlife conservation industry.

In April, conservation group, Saving The Wild, claimed that there is a syndicate of magistrates and prosecutorsprotecting rhino poachers and kingpins.

Reports show that over the course of 2017, more than 1000 rhino were killed.

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