Ele­phants tram­ple sus­pected poacher

Cape Times - - FRONT PAGE - Lisa Isaacs

A SUS­PECTED poacher was ap­par­ently tram­pled on and chased by a herd of Kruger Na­tional Park ele­phants into public view, where he was caught and ar­rested.

SANParks spokesper­son Ike Phaahla said the al­leged poacher was part of a group of sus­pected poach­ers in the Kruger Na­tional Park chased by a herd of ele­phants and in the con­fu­sion, the man ended up on a tourist road.

A call was made to the po­lice, who sent two of its mem­bers to ar­rest the man on Sun­day.

“We un­der­stand he was hurt, but not se­ri­ously,” Phaahla said.

This comes days af­ter the killing of a Kruger Na­tional Park ranger at the hands of al­leged rhino poach­ers.

En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Dr Edna Molewa called the mur­der “an act of ag­gres­sion by un­scrupu­lous in­di­vid­u­als and gangs”.

Ahead of World Ranger Day marked at the end of this month, Molewa paid trib­ute to the ranger who was se­ri­ously wounded dur­ing a shootout with sus­pected rhino poach­ers last Thurs­day.

Molewa said the ranger, whose name is be­ing with­held un­til the fam­ily have met, was from the Bush­buck­ridge area of Mpumalanga and was sta­tioned at Crocodile Bridge.

He was wounded dur­ing a shootout with the al­leged poach­ing group and died on the way to hospi­tal.

The rangers had been track­ing the al­leged poach­ers, sup­ported by the K9 unit. The shootout took place when the rangers pur­sued the al­leged poach­ers.

Last year, the Game Rangers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Africa (GRAA) said at least 55 rangers from Africa had been killed in the space of a year. This to­tal rises to over 105 dead rangers across the globe, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Ranger Fed­er­a­tion in the same pe­riod.

The GRAA said rangers across the world are be­ing sub­jected to an in­creas­ing risk of con­fronting lifethreat­en­ing en­coun­ters.

They op­er­ate in ex­treme en­vi­ron­ments, and in their ef­forts to pro­tect our nat­u­ral her­itage, face the risks as­so­ci­ated with the deadly threat of armed poach­ers and mili­tia groups.

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