NATIONAL NEWS - Two of these arrests occurred in the Pretoriuskop Section of the park and the other two in the Houtboschrand Section.
On May 30, some rangers with K9 support responded to a visual of two poachers, and a pursuit followed.
According to a statement released by the park, the Airwing Unit was called in to support the ground teams and soon after two suspects were arrested without incident.
The very next day, three sets of tracks of suspected poachers were picked up by rangers, once again with K9 support. “They made contact with three suspects during which one suspect was fatally wounded.”
A lengthy follow-up ensued with the support of a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft from the Airwing Unit, as well as support from additional line K9s and free running hounds. This led to the eventual apprehension of the remaining two suspects.
“During both operations, high-calibre hunting rifles, ammunition and poaching equipment were seized.
“All suspects were handed over to the SAPS for further handling, and the suspects will appear in court in due course.”
The KNP head ranger, Cathy Dreyer, congratulated all those involved in the operations. “We are proud of the teamwork and dedication of our ranger corp, our aviators and the K9 units, who execute our anti-poaching efforts in extremely difficult conditions.
“We are aware that poachers are currently targeting weekends for their misdeeds in the mistaken belief that rangers do not work during that time.
“Only through discipline, teamwork and tenacity will we be able help stem the tide of rhino poaching in the KNP. We have our teams’ members in the field all day, all week, 24/7, who have vowed to protect and conserve our fauna and flora,” concluded Dreyer.