In another win to curb wildlife trafficking in South Africa, the Hawks have intercepted and arrested two suspects transporting 19 rhino horns in Mpumalanga.
A multi-disciplinary operation was set up in Nelspruit on Wednesday, 21 July by the Hawks’ Organised Crime Investigation Wildlife Trafficking Counter-Intelligence and members of the private sector.
“Two suspects aged 48 and 53 are expected to appear at the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court today after they were arrested whilst transporting 19 rhino horns in two bakkies. They were charged for illegal possession and selling of rhino horns. Their vehicles were impounded for further investigation,” said SAPS in a statement after the arrest.
The 19 horns with a street value of R2.6-million were seized and an investigation is underway to determine who the suspects are linked to.
Save the Rhino Organisation estimate that there has been a 60% decline in the number of rhinos in South Africa since 2011.
“Recent news around the total number of rhinos in KNP (which holds the largest rhino population in South Africa) made clear that there has been a dramatic fall in rhinos in the Park since 2011. At the latest count (2019), there were approximately 3,817 rhinos left in KNP (a 60% drop),” they said.