File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg- Two rangers at the Kruger National Park have been arrested for alleged involvement in animal poaching, the South African National Parks (SANParks) said on Wednesday.

The two were arrested on Tuesday during an anti-poaching operation with fellow rangers and the police at the park.

''During the arrest, a heavy calibre firearm, ammunition and poaching related equipment were confiscated. Both suspects were taken into custody at the Skukuza police station and will appear in court in due course,'' SANParks said in a statement.

The arrests follow that of a SANParks official and three others on February 15 for alleged poaching. Police confiscated a firearm and a set of rhino horns from the group. 

In another bust, twelve suspected poachers were arrested and firearms, along with animal poaching equipment, confiscated in various operations in the park this month. SANParks said a total of 18 people have been nabbed so far during anti-poaching operations at the Kruger National Park.

Executive manager Glenn Phillips warned that the Kruger National Park will not tolerate illegal activities by its own staff members.

''It is immensely disheartening for the rangers and other law enforcement officials when they have to arrest their own colleagues. We are appealing to our colleagues to stop embarrassing the organisation, their colleagues, friends and family. We are hot on the heels of these criminals masquerading as rangers, it is time to come clean and help us uproot those criminal elements in our Ranger Corps.''

African News Agency (ANA)