- Two dozen rhinos have been killed for their horns in the past fortnight across several parks and game reserves
- The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment said nine poachers have been arrested since 1 December
- Locals condemned the killing of the iconic animal online, with some calling for harsh sentences for the poachers
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CAPE TOWN - At least 24 rhinos have fallen prey to poachers in various nature reserves and parks in South Africa in the past two weeks as the hot trend continues to rear its ugly head.
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment confirmed that seven carcasses were found in the Kruger National Park, while another seven were discovered in Mpumalanga. Meanwhile, six carcasses were found in KwaZulu-Natal and four in the Western Cape, according to a News24 report.
However, it was not immediately clear if the poachers were part of a syndicate operating across provincial borders. A spokesperson for the department, Albi Modise, decried the actions of the poachers and confirmed that close to a dozen perpetrators have been arrested since the start of December.
"We condemn the continued poaching of the rhino for its horns and commend the work done by rangers and security officials to stem the killing of the animal over the festive period. [At least] nine alleged poachers have been arrested in the past two weeks," Modise said.
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The South African National Parks (SANParks) has since issued a warning about a video circulating online, which shows a severely injured white rhino cow, citing that the material was "distressing to watch".
EWN reported that four suspects were arrested outside Cape Town in connection with the killing of four rhinos on a game reserve. The arrests follow an incident in which four rhinos were killed, including a pregnant rhino while another was wounded, at the Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve in Ceres.
Killings cause social media uproar
South Africans have since lamented the killing of the iconic animal, with some calling for the perpetrators to be given harsh sentences for their crimes. Briefly News went into the comments to bring readers all the heartwrenching reactions to the news.
@Philippe Bans wrote:
"Greedy psychopaths are everywhere. Money and armed personnel should be used to protect this endangered species."
@Heidi Cremer Visagie said:
"And all for a bunch of toenails which grows back again if the rhino is properly dehorned, not having half his face hacked out while he is immobilised."
@Phumlani Mntungwa Khumalo added:
"Just arrest everyone who is tasked at safeguarding the Rhinos from the so-called Department of Forestry, Fisheries for negligent."
SARS intercepts Malaysia-bound rhino horn worth R53 million
In related news, Briefly News reported earlier this year that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) intercepted a shipment containing R53 million worth of illegal rhino horn at O.R. Tambo International Airport.
The contraband was reportedly bound for Malaysia when the Customs Detector Dog Unit pointed out the shipment as being suspicious. The package had apparently been marked under ‘HP Cartridges Developers’ before it went to be scanned under an X-ray to check the inner contents.
SARS released a statement detailing how officials then found a shipment of 18 pieces of rhino horn worth an astonishing R53 172 000. The contraband was then handed over to the Hawks for further investigation into the matter.
Source: Briefly News