South African National Parks (SANParks) says two field rangers suspected of being involved in rhino poaching have been arrested.
The two suspects were based at the Houtboschrand section of Kruger National Park (KNP) and are alleged to have shot and dehorned a white rhino in May this year.
The suspects were arrested on Monday as a result of an intensive joint investigation carried out by the SANParks Environmental Crime Investigative Unit and South African Police Service (SAPS).
Their arrest follows a report in May in which shots were reported by tourists and a poached rhino carcass was then found with its horns missing. The two suspects had been deployed in the area at the time of the reports.
KNP Managing Executive Glenn Phillips congratulated the investigating team on the arrests.
“We have zero tolerance for corruption and criminality within our ranks and we are very disappointed at some of our members who betray the trust of all South Africans and nature lovers. We want to warn others that we are coming after you,” Phillips said.
The two suspects will appear in court in due course.
Meanwhile, three poachers were arrested on Monday by rangers who had been following suspects’ tracks for most of the day.
The rangers, who were supported by K9 and Airwing reaction teams, made the arrests shortly before last light.
The suspects were in possession of a heavy calibre hunting rifle, poaching equipment and ammunition at the time of arrest.
The suspects are facing charges related to illegal hunting in a national park.