South Africa is not taking the attack on its rhino population lightly. Public support for the fight against highly sophisticated syndicates which have butchered at least 200 rhinos this year, is gaining momentum.
Initiatives like the rhino hotline, world rhino day celebrations and a fundraising telethon organised by a local radio station have raised public involvement in the rhino war.
The recent arrest of several suspects in Limpopo, including two veterinarians, Dr Karel Toet and Manie du Plessis, a well-known game farmer and safari operator, Dawie Groenewld, his wife Sariette and professional hunter Tielman Roos, has been welcomed all over the world..
In the Kruger National Park (KNP), the police arrested two alleged rhino poachers in September. One of them was wounded in the event.
The two suspects are said to be connected to 10 rhino poaching incidents in the Stolsnek area near Pretoriuskop. Police also confiscated two illegal firearms.
On World Rhino Day, September 22, Petros Fernando Boen appeared in court on suspicion of supplying weapons and smuggling rhino horn.
A Mozambican and Chinese national who were caught red-handed with a rhino horn also appeared in the Phalaborwa Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo.
These arrests came after the country’s police force, national parks, private game farm owners and non governmental organisations joined forces to curb the onslaught.