Kruger National Park ranger walks a dog (Hitler) trained to track the scent of a poacher for 20km. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ANA
Pretoria - Rangers from Mozambique and South Africa on Tuesday showcased combined efforts to deal with the daily threats of poaching, which have hit the Kruger National Park and Sabie Game Parks hard.

The Mozambican Sabie Game Park shares a border with the massive South African park, and although the law limits the rangers’ jurisdiction by border, the rangers have an understanding and share information to help each other arrest poachers.

They said poachers, who ran across the border for cover, poached from both sides of the border and in the process threatened thousands of vulnerable rhinos, compelling rangers to intensify security measures to protect the endangered species.

The section ranger at Crocodile Bridge, Neels van Wyk, led a demonstration to showcase how the two independent teams were able to track poachers from one side, while assuring the other team had enough information about the threat to be ready to continue the pursuit on the other side.

This they did with the use of two efficient communication techniques, well-trained rangers and dogs.

A helicopter takes off during Kruger National Park operations of SA rangers working with Sabie Game Park rangers in Mozambique to secure both sides of the boarders against poachers. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ANA

The Kruger Park is 2million hectares in size, and is patrolled by nearly 500 rangers, while the Mozambican park covers 40000 hectares with only 20 rangers.

The two parks said that although they still needed more rangers to successfully secure themselves, their joint efforts were already showing positive results.

The ranger manager at the Mozambicana Dych Advisory Group, Tiaan Kheynhans, said: “We still have a huge lack of manpower on our side. As you can see, we brought only three rangers to the demonstration. However, we are happy with the improvements as we have arrested suspects, and the Mozambican sentences are now stiffer.

“Previously, they would only get a three-year sentence for poaching. Now they get sentences from six years.”

Three suspected poachers were arrested on Sunday morning for killing three rhinos in the Kruger National Park.

The suspects were South Africans Emmanuel Madluli, 29, Walter Mhangani, 55, and Mozambican Xongani Mathebule, who were caught dehorning one rhino, killed 2km away from the scene where the first one had been killed.

The rangers were reacting to loud gunshots.

The suspects appeared in the Skukuza Magistrate's Court on Monday, facing charges of poaching, trespassing and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Their case was postponed until December 4.

Pretoria News