Cops nab NC rhino poach­ing sus­pect

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - MUR­RAY SWART STAFF RE­PORTER

A SUS­PECT, who has been im­pli­cated in the poach­ing of two rhi­nos on a game farm near Coles­berg in July, has been ar­rested.

Eburra James, who at the time of the al­leged in­ci­dent worked on the farm in Coles­berg, was ar­rested last week Wed­nes­day in For­rest­dale, Dundee. He made a brief ap­pear­ance in the Coles­berg Mag­is­trate’s Court ear­lier this week.

James’ ar­rest came af­ter the North­ern Cape police re­quested mem­bers of the Glen­coe Stock Theft Unit to help trace the sus­pect, af­ter he ap­par­ently fled the Coles­berg game farm.

The Glen­coe police swooped on a con­tainer tuck shop in For­rest­dale last Wed­nes­day, where they ap­pre­hended James, who is a Malaw­ian na­tional.

Other farm work­ers, orig­i­nally from Thabaz­imbi in Lim­popo and other ar­eas, are be­lieved to be also linked to the poach­ing.

The car­casses of the two white rhi­nos were dis­cov­ered, with their horns re­moved, at the pri­vate game re­serve near Coles­berg in July.

A few days ear­lier, eight white rhi­nos were also slaugh­tered near Kim­ber­ley and the re­mains of the an­i­mals were left on the farm. Three of the rhi­nos had been de­horned.

Ac­cord­ing to con­ser­va­tion­ists, it ap­peared as if the same modus operandi was used in both in­ci­dents.

A rhino horn has an es­ti­mated black mar­ket value of about R2.3 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to rhino poach­ing sta­tis­tics re­leased by the Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs, Edna Molewa, in Fe­bru­ary, 1 054 rhino were poached in 2016, of which 662 rhino car­casses were found at the Kruger Na­tional Park.

She in­di­cated that there had been 2 883 in­ci­dents of poach­ing-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing poach­ing camps, con­tacts, cross­ings, sight­ings, tracks and shots fired, at the Kruger Na­tional Park.

Molewa had stated that crim­i­nal gangs, which were linked to a well-re­sourced and funded transna­tional syn­di­cate, were in­volved in the sale of rhino horn, where 680 poach­ers and traf­fick­ers were ar­rested dur­ing 2016.

More than 106 rhi­nos were re­lo­cated from the Kruger Na­tional Park to var­i­ous “pri­vate rhino strongholds” for safety and se­cu­rity rea­sons last year af­ter suit­abil­ity as­sess­ments were con­ducted

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