Dr Markus Hofmeyr, Head of SANParks Veterinary Services and his team at Kruger National Park, darts a white rhino cow from a helicopter to collect DNA samples. Picture: Armand Hough

Johannesburg - Six suspected rhino poachers were arrested at a guest house in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal with a rifle, live ammunition, hunting knives and an axe, the environmental affairs department said on Thursday.

The department welcomed the arrest of the suspects and urged community members to assist the police and conservation authorities in combating rhino poaching.

Vincent Mathothe, 42; Hloniphani Khumalo, 34; Mhlekiswa Dlamini, 47; Florence Lubisi, 39; Mogala Ragolane, 53; and Frans Tshabangu, 48, will remain in custody until their next court appearance.

The department said through the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros Approach, a number of notable successes in combating rhino poaching had been recorded. 

By the end of August 2018, 83 rhino had been poached in KwaZulu-Natal, a marked decrease compared to the same period in 2017, when a total of 183 rhino were poached in the province in the first eight months of last year.

African News Agency (ANA)