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R4.5m worth of rhino horn seized

A customs team arrested two men travelling from Maputo to Vietnam carrying over 34 large pieces of horn.

A rhino being treated with indelible dye to prevent rhino poaching at the Askari Game Lodge in Gauteng. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Revenue Service says it's made its single biggest rhino horn seizure to date.

Its customs team at OR Tambo International Airport has arrested two men travelling from Maputo to Vietnam carrying rhino horn to the value of R4.5 million.

A team at the airport stopped the men with over 34 large pieces of horn.

The team's Marika Muller says this bust was part of a wider anti-poaching programme.

"The detector dog reacted positively to their bags and the two suspects were carrying over 40 kg of rhino horn."

Meanwhile, the Department of Environmental Affairs said nearly 900 rhino have been poached throughout the country since the beginning of the year and 282 people have been arrested.

The most significant of these arrests has been that of Dawie Groenewald, an alleged kingpin in the illegal rhino horn trade who faces nearly 2,000 charges in the High Court in Pretoria.

Groenewald is currently out on bail of R1 million and the US authorities also issued an indictment against him and his brother Janneman.

The department's Albi Modise said the Kruger National Park has recorded the highest number of poaching incidents since the beginning of the year.

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