Suspected rhino poacher shot dead
The suspect’s two accomplices escaped from rangers in the Kruger National Park on Tuesday night.
JOHANNESBURG - It emerged on Wednesday that another suspected rhino poacher has been shot dead in the Kruger National Park (KNP).
The suspect was killed on Tuesday night and another two managed to escape.
Rangers recovered a hunting rifle and ammunition at the scene.
On the same night, rangers and police apprehended two other suspected poachers and took them into police custody.
South African National Parks (SANparks) spokesman Reynold Thakhuli says the activity was unusually high, saying, "It has been quite a busy time for us."
He says the two arrested suspects were trying to conspire with SANparks staff and were apprehended after "a combined intelligence-driven operation."
They were picked up outside KNP, says Thakhuli, and investigations are now under way.
Since the start of this year alone, more than 500 rhino have been killed in South Africa by poachers with more than 360 of the deaths occurring in KNP.
On Saturday, three poachers were killed and another three arrested.
Rangers along with Mozambican authorities tracked the six along the border and killed three during a shootout.
KNP management said better cooperation between Mozambique and South African authorities led to those arrests.
At the same time, a two year census of the number of rhino in the Kruger Park is nearing completion thanks to rapid anti-poaching measures introduced to keep the animals and scientists safe.
Scientists started the survey last year but were unable to finish, partly due to a spike in poaching activities.
KNP has also called on citizens living in communities that may have been infiltrated by poachers to help protect the rhino.
Hundreds of arrests have already been made in the reserve since the beginning of the year.
It's understood most of the suspects are still crossing over through the Mozambican border.