sexta-feira, 15 de outubro de 2010

FYI - Maputaland Hippo Poaching Ring Busted, Suspected hippo poacher arrested

FYI - Maputaland Hippo Poaching Ring Busted - suspected of poaching in the Ozabeni, Muzi Pans, and Lake Sibaya areas.

Suspected hippo poacher arrested

Larry Bentley - Zululand Observer 14/10/10

THE Public Order Policing Unit stationed at Muzi Pans arrested a suspect (30) on charges of illegal hunting, being in possession of animal products and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. The unit was alerted to criminal activity at a house which had been abandoned following the death of the owner.They discovered that the house was being used as a butchery and store by poachers. Inside the house 32 strips of hippo fat were found hanging on meat hooks.

In another room four hippo snares made out of heavy steel cable, a crocodile snare with four heavy steel hooks and 15 cable snares for small animals were found. Outside the house several pieces of hippo skin and fat were found hanging in trees. There was also a hippo foetus that had been gutted and left to dry.

More bones and skin were uncovered in two freshly dug holes. A male found near the house was detained and he led the police to his house 400 metres away where police found skulls of five more hippos. The police also found a .303-SMLE rifle and 21 rounds of ammunition.

According to the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff, this is the first time that so many poached hippos have been found in one location. The arrest is expected to significantly curb illegal hunting in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.


Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the iSimangaliso Wetland Authority are extremely pleased with the arrest by members of the SAPF on 13 October 2010 of a man suspected of large scale poaching in the Muzi Pan/Mbazwane area of Northern Zululand. The arrest follows a long investigation into illegal hunting in the area and culminated in the arrest of Sipho Bhekizwe Zikhali (30) of the Manzibomvu area suspected of poaching in the Ozabeni, Muzi Pans, and Lake Sibaya areas.

Zikhali appeared in the Mbazwane Magistrates Court on 14 October 2010 and the case was remanded to 21 October for a bail hearing.

With the ongoing drought hippos are tending to gather in the Muzi Pan as the pans they normally inhabit dry up. The Muzi Pan complex lies outside the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and these animals are therefore vulnerable to poaching. Police found the remains of five hippos, several crocodiles, skins of antelope and monkeys as well as various cable snares used in hippo, crocodile and antelope poaching. They also confiscated a .303 rifle and 20 rounds of ammunition.

“The scale of this operation was very disturbing indeed,” said iSimangaliso Wetland Authority CEO Andrew Zaloumis. “We are very pleased indeed that this man has finally been brought to book and look forward to the outcome of the court case,” he said. “It is most encouraging to us all to know that with the support of our public and dedicated staff we can beat the poachers and they must not expect a soft deal from us,” he added.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildife CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize echoed these sentiments and noted that in several public addresses he had repeatedly warned poachers that they plundered the wildlife resources of KZN at their peril. “We are actively pursuing many leads with regards to poaching across KZN and our public can look forward to more news in the future regarding the arrests of poachers,” he said. “This poaching operation was one of the biggest ever to be uncovered in KZN and the arrest of its main operator will definitely send a message to others that the net is closing on them,” said Dr Mkhize.

The CEOs of both organisations paid tribute to the painstaking investigation involving their staff and the SAPF that lead to this arrest.

AJG/ Media Release No: 2010 - 10

For further information contact the Media Manager on 033 845 1235; email or fax 033 845 1299.

Fonte: Tim Condon

0 comentários:

Enviar um comentário