Pretoria - It was a victory for rangers in the Kruger National Park when they arrested a suspected poacher on Thursday, on World Rangers’ Day.
The suspect was apprehended about 60m from the Paul Kruger Gate where the celebrations of the day were taking place. Two other suspects escaped.
Park spokesman William Mabasa said the trio were driving into the park, posing as tourists, when rangers stopped them and searched their vehicle.
“We found poaching weapons in the car, a high-calibre rifle, an axe, and ammunition,” Mabasa said.
This brings the number of alleged poachers arrested this year to 173.
Since January, 618 rhinos have been killed in South Africa, 400 in the Kruger Park.
A second elephant carcass with its tusks removed was discovered in the park’s Phafuri region on Wednesday.
In May an elephant carcass was found in the same area, which is just 10km from the Mozambican and Zimbabwean borders.
The celebration of Ranger Day was attended by the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Thompson, who lauded rangers’ efforts in their fight against rhino poaching and curbing environmental crime.
As part of the celebrations, Thompson also unveiled a ranger monument, which acknowledges the contribution of rangers to conservation in South Africa.
The event marked the seventh anniversary of World Rangers’ Day, which is held in memory of rangers who lost their lives in the line of duty and honours those who risk their lives.