Hawks nab duo in Zeerust in possession of a lion’s head
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CAPE TOWN – The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) arrested two men after they were seeking a buyer for a lion head in their possession.
Hawks spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase said the men aged 54 and 62 were arrested on Thursday in Zeerust on a charge of possession of a lion’s head in contravention of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA).
He said officers attached to the Mahikeng based Serious Organised Crime Investigation team along with the Leruhutshe K9, Zeerust Stock Theft Unit as well as members from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment made the bust during a sting operation after information was received through intelligence.
“Preliminary investigation by the Hawks revealed that the duo were travelling from Thembisa in Johannesburg looking for a traditional healer to sell the lion’s head for R350 000.
“A police agent intercepted the sale by arranging a traditional healer and the suspects were arrested at the Shell garage in Zeerust,” Nkwalase said.
The lion’s head was found wrapped inside refuse bags and was seized for further investigation.
Nkwalase said the suspects are expected to appear in the Zeerust Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
In an unrelated incident, a R100 000 reward has been offered for information that will lead to the arrest of those responsible for the killing of four rhinos and critically injuring a fifth at Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve on Wednesday night in the Western Cape.
The 24-hour anti-poaching unit came across four shot rhinos at Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve at about 10.30 pm.
Two of the rhinos succumbed to their injuries from silenced weapons utilising large calibre rifle rounds at the scene while the remaining two critically injured rhinos were confirmed dead soon after – one of which was a pregnant female rhino.
After an extensive search for the fifth rhino at Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve, it was found with a gunshot to the face at roughly 2am on Thursday morning.