Pretoria - Three more rhinos have been killed in the Kruger National Park (KNP) while their suspected killers were hunted down and arrested at the weekend according to the South African National Parks (SANparks).
The alleged poachers, who are all from Mozambique and in the country illegally, were arrested after dogs were dispatched following the location of their tracks.
In a statement yesterday KNP spokesperson Ike Phaahla confirmed that on Friday morning while a tourist was on safari at north Afsaal between Malelane and Skukuza in the park he heard two gunshots and reported the matter to authorities.
“In response, a helicopter, K9 and rangers were immediately dispatched to investigate the report..
“The helicopter flew over the area and located one fresh rhino carcass and an injured rhino lying next to the carcass.
“Further investigations revealed a further two rhino carcasses in the immediate area.
“A second helicopter and rangers were dispatched to collect the free-running hounds, while the first helicopter deployed rangers and a K9 to locate the tracks exiting the scene.
“The rangers and K9 continued to follow the outgoing tracks for a few kilometres, after which the free-running hounds were released to continue with the follow-up. The hounds indicated a specific area where three suspects were found and arrested.
Phaahla said the suspects were found in possession of a high calibre hunting rifle, ammunition, horns from three rhinos, cellphones and other poaching equipment.
“The three will face charges related to the incident in due course once the SA Police Services have finalised their investigation including establishing whether the alleged offenders have been involved in other or similar crimes previously.
He said that the injured rhino had to be put down due to the serious bullet injuries it sustained.