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Cape Town - South African National Parks (SANParks) on Friday announced the arrest of a former ranger in the Kruger National Park, hailing it "a significant breakthrough in the fight against rhino poaching".

In a statement, SANParks said the former corporal in the Rangers Services, who was dismissed on unrelated charges in 2014, was arrested with an alleged accomplice on May 1. The duo were found in possession of a high-calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment.

"We have been after this particular individual for some time now, and we are happy that he has been captured and we will wait for the law to take its course," Kruger National Park executive manager Glenn Phillips said.

"We call on the justice system to consider the severe damage that is being done by criminals, not only to the sustainability of our rhino populations, but also the long term threat to the tourism industry of this country and mete out harsh sentences."

The duo are expected to appear in court once charged.

SANParks said two others were arrested on May 2 in another operation by the KNP K9 unit and the Airwing. 

"The suspects were arrested and a heavy caliber hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered at the scene."    

African News Agency (ANA)