SANParks has announced three successful operations in the KNP. Six suspected poachers were arrested in the park since the beginning of October.
“Three heavy-caliber hunting rifles were confiscated during the operations and the majority of the suspects were arrested before shooting any animals,” said Ike Phaahla, spokesperson of SANParks.“In the same period there were no elephants poached, despite 55 recorded poacher activities.”
Phaahla attributes the successful operations to the dedication and efficiency of the Ranger Corps, closely supported by rapid reaction K9, aircraft units and applied hi-tech detection technologies.
The CEO of SANParks, Fundisile Mketeni, has commended all those involved in the operations, saying, “We are still miles away from being on top of this campaign, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Our investment in technology and intelligence gathering means the risk to poachers has increased, and they know that if we pick up their spoor, they will lose their freedom.
The Rangers Corps, K9 and Airwing units are working relentlessly in coordinated approach, which is being continually refined to counter the threat posed by the poaching syndicates, and for that we are grateful.”
Mketeni urged communities to continue providing vital information to assist in curbing the scourge of poaching.
He warned criminals that they are constantly under scrutiny and will soon end up behind bars if they do not stop their illegal activities. He cautioned communities to stop supporting the bush meat trade, which has caused an increase in snares in the KNP.
All arrested suspects are detained at the Skukuza Police Station and will appear in court in due course.
This article was first published by Mpumalanga News on 17 October 2019.