It’s a good start to the year when major players in a Rhino poaching syndicate are caught red handed, proving that while rhino poaching persists, so does the war to stop it.
Members of the Limpopo Endangered Species Unit followed up on information on suspects attempting to sell rhino horn in the Makhado area.
The members spotted the vehicle and the suspects sped off after throwing a wrapped object from their vehicle.
One police vehicle stopped and retrieved the object while the other vehicle followed the suspects. Three suspects were arrested by the Makhado Cluster First Responder Team and the POP members.
Deon and André van Deventer are two of the 3 suspects identified so far.
“The two brothers were apparently acquitted of Rhino poaching in a previous case in 2014, but it seems that since they have been caught red-handed, they would find it difficult to get away with it again.”
Members of the Endangered Species who retrieved the object, found it to be one rhino horn. It is suspected that the horn might be connected to an incident of poaching in the Witpoort area that occurred earlier in the week where a rhino and her calf were shot and dehorned. Forensic tests to confirm this, will be conducted.
Investigations are continuing to determine their possible involvement in other similar incidents of rhino poaching.
The suspects are due to appear in the Makhado Magistrates Court on Monday 2017-01-09, on a charge of illegal possession of a rhino horn and the illegal hunting of endangered species.
The Department of Environmental Affairs says it believes the number of rhinos killed in 2016 decreased compared to last year (2015).
The department’s Albi Modise says their partnership with law enforcement agencies and other organisations has resulted in almost a 100 less rhino being killed by September when the figure stood at over 700.
And this year, working together, we will hopefully curb that number to be able to save all our Rhinos!