Sunday, 21 July, 2024

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Contact with poachers highlights dangerous conditions rangers operate under

Three suspected poachers have been killed in two incidents over four days in the Kruger National Park.

On Friday last week, just before dark, rangers made contact with a group of armed suspected rhino poachers. 

They were armed with a high-calibre rifle, an axe and other poaching equipment. One of the suspects was fatally wounded on contact, while the others escaped. A rifle and ammunition were recovered at the scene.

Another contact between suspected poachers and rangers took place late on Tuesday evening when rangers encountered another group of armed suspected rhino poachers. During the contact, two of the suspects were fatally wounded and a heavy-calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and other poaching equipment were seized.

Both incidents are currently being investigated by the police.

Kruger National Park spokesperson Ike Phaahla says the two incidents in a space of four days highlight the dangerous conditions rangers operate under. 

“It particularly demonstrates the threats they face from heavily armed suspected poachers. Incursions on the eastern boundary are still relentless and the anti-poaching units have been under a lot of pressure. SANParks is also exploring numerous interventions, including community mobilisation and support to push back against the continuous poaching threats,” he says.

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