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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. I am a contributor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Friday, September 10, 2010

IT IS TIME TO HUNT THE RHINO POACHERS

To many, this posting may not have much to do with my core focus but there are many things that get my blood boiling: Abuse of kids and the elderly, murder, armed robbery, unacceptably high violent crime levels, the ruthless exploitation of Africa and poaching...

Of late, there has been an alarming rise in poaching in South Africa, especially rhino poaching. Indeed, the black-market demand for rhino horn has led to concerns that the current rate of killings will soon outstrip the births of rhino.

In Asia, the rhino horn is famed for its so-called medicinal powers and the demand keeps growing. This demand has, in turn, pushed up the price of the rhino horn making it a highly valued commodity and the rhino a method of making money quickly. The national game parks and smaller game reserves are all targets at present – and usually easy targets at that.

As South Africa is considered to be the last stronghold of a viable rhino population in Africa, this has made the country a prime target for this despicable poaching. According to the International Rhino Foundation, South Africa has already lost more than 31 rhinos to poachers this year.

The situation has become so bad that recent reports stated that the poachers were now even using helicopters to deploy their shooters. If this is not a cause for concern, then nothing is.

Gone are the days of the past where these poachers used home-made weapons. Nowadays, the poaching of rhinos is controlled by highly organised crime syndicates who use high-powered rifles, veterinary drugs, night vision equipment, helicopters, body armour and trackers to hunt their unsuspecting prey.

At last some action is being taken. A local radio station (www.jacarandafm.com) has put their money where their mouth is and began a campaign to generate awareness of the siege the rhinos are under as well as to collect funds towards stopping this crime.

A website to generate further understanding (www.stoprhinopoaching.com) was also created to raise awareness of the rhino’s plight as lately we are losing about a rhino a day to these murderous scum. In conjunction with Radio Jacaranda, the local radio station, a special 12-hour “rhinothon” was launched on 10 September to generate funds from the public who wish to get involved in stopping this.

Whereas all of these initiatives are a step in the right direction, it is shocking to learn that rhino poachers who are caught in the act, are merely allowed out of custody on bail. Five of them recently caught in the act, were given bail of a mere SA Rands 10 000 (approx US$ 1350). Looking at history, it is unlikely that they will turn up on the day of their hearing. Instead they will most probably merely “disappear” and continue with their poaching elsewhere. These particular scumbags have already been linked to 8 more cases of rhino poaching in an area known as Makhado. With that type of legal action, the poachers remain the winners.

There is a time for everything and the time is long past to start hunting the poachers and giving them no mercy when finding them. If they are allowed to continue with their actions, South Africa will no longer be home to the Big Five – instead we will only have the Big Four. That sad day is coming if drastic action is not taken.

I, like many of my like-minded friends, would have no compunction in hunting and taking armed action against these criminals and their paymasters.

Although systems are being put in place to prevent the poaching of rhino, it remains to be seen just how effective they will be.

However, if aggressive action is taken, relentless follow-up operations conducted and directed fire aimed at them, I am sure that any rhino poachers will think twice before carry out their orders.

If we turn the hunter into the hunted, the rhino horn will soon lose its lustre and we will be able to save these magnificent creatures.

44 comments:

Gonkafied said...

Do you see anti-poacher PMCs as part of the solution or does the South African government have the willingness to deal with the problem?

matt said...

Hey Eeben, excellent post and I was not aware of the problem until now. Wow, these poachers are at a whole new level if they are using helicopters and NVGs?

The question I have, as do a couple of my readers at Facebook is if anyone has approached you yet to start up such an anti-poacher program?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The SA government says that it is viewing this in a very serious light, Gonkafied. However, a recent report pointed a finger at the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency’s chief operating officer Edward Thwala and provident fund official Bheki Malaza. If government officials are involved, I do not see how it will be stopped.

The last thing that will be allowed is a PMC to be contracted to stop this. Perhaps the concern exists that they may just stop it.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Many of us would gladly pick up a rifle and stop this senseless slaughter, Private. But, such permission will never be granted.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Making use of sophisticated poaching methods does not make them sophisticated poachers, Matt. I suspect their unfailing belief in their gadgets will be their weakness.

No one has approached me to try to stop this. A long time ago we placed three EO men on one of our countries borders to stop rustling and crime. They were so successful that the police intervened and threatened the farmers to get rid of EO. So, I suspect that lip service is being paid but the will is lacking.

Rgds,

Eeben

John said...

Good Morning Eeben,

Great post - and a perfect opportunity for the PMC to contribute but as you stated not very likely.

I am sure we will all keep a watch, and help in the ways we can, as this unfolds.

Hurts my outlook on humanity at times when I read this but there is always hope when gentlemen will step up and get solutions going.

Regards,
John

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It will not take much to stop these scumbags, John.

I fail to see why we must always give these people the benefit of the doubt and treat them with any humanity as they have proved they have none.

As long as we can make people aware of what is really happening, we can at least raise some consciousness of the matter and its seriousness.

Rgds,

Eeben

John said...

Good Afternoon Eeben,

So true that scumbags generally take little to stop - unless the money gets so huge that professionals with supple backbones get involved (see the massive drug cartel crimes). At this point the PMC would be great to eliminate this pestilence. And by all accounts what men we have available to employ with EO veterans and the like.
I don't know what your experience in the field has been with cruel men but being raised a farmer I saw many more fine men who treated their animals humanely - those who were cruel were not wired correctly. They generally ended up doing further far more serious crimes or crossing the wrong person and being dealt telling injuries for their lack of character.

Thanks for dropping out this tidbit on the rhino.

Regards,
John

P.S. The latest "Weekly Standard" had a very interesting article on the end at Dien Bien Phu. Worth the read.http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/theirs-do-and-die

Robby said...

3 rhino poaching suspects held



Buks Viljoen, Beeld

Nelspruit - Badplaas police dealt a blow to rhino poaching on Friday night when they arrested three suspected poachers outside the Mpumalanga town.

One of the three is apparently wanted in KwaZulu-Natal for his alleged involvement in a crime syndicate that specialises in rhino poaching.

The alleged poachers were apparently on their way to the 50 000ha Songimvelo game reserve near Barberton when police caught up with them.

The suspects have apparently also been wanted by police for the past few weeks, after they allegedly kidnapped and severely assaulted a member of the syndicate.

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/3-rhino-poaching-suspects-held-20100912

Raven said...

PM

Good day Eeben,
I’m so glad you posted this article.
This is a clear threat to South Africa’s natural treasure. Unfortunately putting money in a tin at the local grocery store won’t stop the poaching. I’ve been hoping laws would be amended to allow people like yourself and I to launch a hunting trip that will save these magnificent creatures…
Once again the only thing protecting these ruthless butchers is politicians that lack willpower to stop this massacre for what reason only they will know… I fully agree that pmc’s could end this in a matter of weeks. But just repairing our border fences would already change things. I noticed that many incidents happen along our non-existent borders, thus from neighboring citizens helping themselves to SA-resources… Mozambique seems to be a big problem.
If the government was interested in solving this (amongst a few other issues in SA), they should repair the high-voltage fences & get our useless-striking-SANDF troops out of the Union Buildings Gardens and patrolling borders like we used to (carrying “skerp-punt-ammo”).
Just my thoughts…

Regards

Stefan

PS. If you hear of a hunting trip where poachers are the target, please let me know…

Herbert said...

Mr. Barlow,

Your article really struck a nerve with me. I'm no tree-hugging environmentalist, but abuse of animals (particularly poaching of the big guys) really gets my blood pressure up--it's getting right in there with abuse of children. I've had the pleasure of seeing South African rhino up close a few times. I can really fantasize about catching the spit-gob poachers in the act; however, like fantasizing about sex with some actress or the like, it is unfortunately unlikely to come to pass.

So on to what really could be done.

The circumstances involved in this poaching clearly indicate government endorsement/involvement at some level (probably at a fairly high level). Not that it is rocket science, but I have some experience in dealing with these types of underhanded affairs. Government officials on the poacher (organized crime) payroll are a given.
The solution must come from the private sector. Use the money raised privately, and it will take a lot, to set up a sting with the objective of positively identifying the dirty government players. Good intelligence up front and throughout--don't move without it; hire your players carefully from the international realm; be generous with seed money; trust NO ONE in government; and accept your own risks with the law and government.

With the culprits identified, the private venture then would have to decide what to do about them. The solution must be harsh and adequately public to serve as a deterrent. Courts are problematic, but possibly useful--be mindful that the courts may decide to target you if you go that route.

Of course,if your intelligence is good enough to identify the culprits without doubt, then the sting would be unnecessary. Straight to the solution.

So who to take on such a project? That's the trickiest part. By definition, any of us on this blog are not qualified, i.e., we are suspicious by virtue of our very presence on the blog.

Just food for thought.

Best Regards,
Herbert

Alan said...

Eeben:

Ironic is it not, nations which over forty years ago conducted the first successful heart transplant and two years later put a man on the moon, cannot protect a defenseless beast or guard their borders against illegal alien incursions.

Regards, Alan

Nilster said...

Hi Eeben, I fully agree. Maybe a well placed misinformation Ops could help - ie a campaign of a sited & published "research" in Mandarin-speaking countries elaborating to the lethal carcinogenic effects of rhino horn. Cutting the value chain at both ends, so to speak.

Fabio Di Caro said...

Good morning Signoarlow,I've been silent for a while due to profesional problems that have caused us to become jobless in just only two weeks,italy is the dead end of the world,so my collegues have spread in order to save themselves just like I am tryng to do.Please be so kind as to let me know if something moves for us "useless" toppies down by your side.I beg your pardon for having used your blog.All the best Eeben.Kind Regards - Fabio

Jake said...

Hey Eeben,
Good post. Certainly does get the blood boiling to see precious resources slaughtered in this way. It is a shame the world wants to move only at the pace of grace in these situations.

Jake

Tango said...

Hi Eeben,
A report in one of the local papers today....There seems no specific plan of action that is currently working to stop this.

(Tracker and eblockwatch have joined forces to smash Rhino poaching syndicates.
see www.eblockwatch.co.za for more details)





A Dream Team has now been established aimed at tracking and smashing syndicates involved in illegal rhino poaching. Various players from the Intelligence Services and vehicle tracking company Tracker have joined forces to form an elite ground unit and it has been dedicated to arresting poachers and the people responsible for financing them.





Five rhinos killed in Pilanesberg
2010-09-20 09:01

Related Links
3 rhino poaching suspects held
Economic boom boosts rhino poaching
Rhino poaching surges
Suspected poacher was out on bail
2 rhinos killed on Limpopo farm
Chopper drops 4 rhino poachers
Rhino owners 'at wits end'
Poachers feed then kill tame rhinos

Susan Cilliers, Beeld
Johannesburg - Four rhino carcasses with sawn-off horns have been found in a Pilanesberg nature reserve in the North-West.

A fifth rhino was found still alive, but with its horns sawn off and with a gunshot wound in the back. It later died.

This comes just after several rhinos were marked to prevent poaching in Mafikeng in the North-West at the weekend.

The latest discovery brings the total number of rhinos poached in South Africa since January to 210, Louis Coetzee said on Sunday evening.

Coetzee is the manager of the Mafikeng game reserve, which belongs to the North-West's parks and tourism board.

Regards
Tango

Alex said...

Eeben,

An excellent post, on a topic which I'm sure can often be forgotten in the midst of the myriad other issues often confronting Africa. It's disgusting both how callous the poachers are in their disregard for the animals, and how miserably the law fails to provide any real disincentive or punishment to such activities.

I would gladly add my voice to those who would have no compunction taking the measures you advocate to stop this activity, but as far as PMC action goes, the problem as always is finding an employer with the wherewithal to hire people to neutralize the poaching threat. I remember reading a brief bit in your book on EO carrying out an operation such as this and finding it quite uplifting, as I've long suspected it would be one of the best methods to combat these people.

I imagine of course that such a thing will never happen in this situation, and there is little that can be done until those actually with the power to intervene are willing to take such drastic measures. Unfortunately I don't see that happening in the near future. As your examples of the implication of government officials and the police opposing the EO operation (and it speaks to the credit of such an approach that three men could have such an impact) it will never be in the interests of those with the power to act to actually put a stop to this.

Personally I would love nothing more than to read that air-mobile troops, snipers or whatever else necessary had been deployed to protect endangered wildlife, but sadly I can't imagine that happening in the real world. If it does, please let me know.

Regards

Alex

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

There have been several breakthroughs regarding these scumbags, John. One happened yesterday when 2 prominent vets were arrested as being part of these syndicates so at least decisive action is being taken – and high time too. My only hope is that these people will receive the harshest possible sentences known to mankind.

Thanks for the link to Dien Bien Phu. It was certainly a very enlightening – and sad - read.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Robby. As I mentioned to John, there have been several important breakthroughs and I find that very heartening. Of course, we need to see very strong sentencing follow these arrests and not merely a paltry bail sum.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is a definite threat to a national treasure, Stefan. Apparently, more than 200 rhinos have been shot this year and the total population is only about 21 000 – not much really given that they once roamed rather freely across the continent.

I don’t think government would allow a PMC to become involved in this. The SA govt has been fighting hard to prevent all ex-SADF members from working in the private military field, despite the fact that such people have a major contribution to make to peace and stability.

Our borders are a disaster at present and are continually leaking, something criminal elements have exploited to the hilt.

As for our Defence Force, they are about to go on strike again...

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It has been reported that some senior government officials are involved in these activities, Herbert.

I think that the private sector has had to involve itself in countering crime at many levels as there is a belief that the law enforcement services are not working too well. Only recently a policeman was arrested for renting out police weapons, body armour, etc to criminals, so it does raise numerous questions.

Success breeds success so in this instance, I hope that more and more poachers will get nailed. I also think that certain private sector initiatives will ensure that some experienced men are recruited to take this matter to the end.

Interesting that you believe that “we are suspicious by virtue of our very presence on the blog”. May I ask why?

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Indeed ironic, Alan. But perhaps we feel that these magnificent ancient creatures are no longer necessary on earth. A very sad situation.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A good point, Nilster but it must be pointed out that not all Chinese people agree with what is happening. But cutting the chain at both ends will be very important and valuable to save the rhinos that remain.

Sadly, intelligence is never really considered until massive damage has been done.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am sorry to hear that the balloon has deflated, Fabio. That is always a tough situation to recover from. I however have no doubt that your resourcefulness and enterprise will save the day. Unfortunately, I do not have anything large looming on the horizon...but, chin up, it will get better.

My best wishes and good luck!

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Nice to hear from you, Grant. I shall mail you shortly.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

My concern is that the pace of grace will be our undoing, Jake. For some reason, we always wait to see what will happen instead of taking action as soon as something becomes apparent. It would be even better if we would become preemptive...

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Indeed a voice form the past - Good to hear from you, Anton. I’ll be in touch shortly.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the feedback, Tango. This is a real step in the right direction and I really hope it pays off.

I heard on the radio yesterday that 5 more rhino carcasses were found in the Pilansberg so I hope these teams can get this sorted.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

There are so many pressing issues to deal with on our continent that the wildlife is often overlooked, Alex. But at long last something has happened (http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Rhino-poaching-vets-arrested-20100920). That can only be good news.

It would be a great day when we read that some poachers have been poached by snipers and assault teams.

The 3 EO men did a great job but the police insisted the operation be shut down, despite the EO successes. It did not take us long to figure out why, especially when rustling and other crimes flared up once they left the area.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Man is indeed nature’s weakest but most violent creature, Private. But, adherence to law to allow extinction of a species is something that I often question.

The use of “soft power” is indeed oxymoron. Many foreign powers have attempted to curb crime and win wars with soft power but ultimately, it fails. The UN can testify to this senseless yet politically correct manner of trying to do things. Rape has become a “weapon of war” – so indirectly, it is now okay for forces to rape. These failures have cost thousands of human lives.

We cannot use “soft power” on criminals such as these poachers, as I am sure you will agree. All we do is send a message that we will not act against them. If we fail to act aggressively and decisively, we again lose the initiative in our fight to stem this and similar crimes.

Rgds,

Eeben

Herbert said...

Mr. Barlow,

My comment "we are suspicious by virtue of our very presence on the blog" was meant in context with the sting scenario I offered, specifically in the interest of good cover for the operation. Those of us on the blog have passionately (and publicly by virtue of the blog) expressed our outrage and desire to catch the poachers and government collaborators. Therefore, we'd be a bad choice for participation in a sting--too easily identified as good guys.

I certainly did not mean that we on the blog are all suspicious characters or some sort. My previous life with cover concerns, along with general inarticulateness, caused my writing to be unclear. Sorry for the confusion.

Regards
Herbert

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

No need to apologise, Herbert but thanks for clarifying that. I have numerous blonde moments and was wondering why we are dodgy characters. In the context of a sting, we would certainly be. But then, the “good guys” are often seen as the villains in this new world we live in.

The good news is that several senior poachers have been caught.

Rgds,

Eeben

Slowhand said...

The anti poaching set up in Etosha after independence, reduced poaching in general to zero. The shoot on sight policy may have had something to do with it, however their effectiveness was their undoing, as they brought a halt to the flow of diamonds trickling down from the North. Government put a stop to the units antics, the realities of life. Mike Billings one of Johan Haywood’s boys

John said...

Good Evening Eeben,

Excellent news that some of the "prince"-pins - but likely not the top - of the poaching chain have been nabbed. Their punishment will give a clue to the next level of corruption.
A good little internet rumor on bad news for the users of rhino horn may be just the thing to topple the whole deal from within...as noted earlier.

Glad you enjoyed the article - sad at best.

Regards,
John

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Too true, Mike – success in these situations can upset some people in positions of trust. I recall reading something about the unit you mention – not sure where or when – and was impressed at their actions. But when big money and ethics collide, it seems the big money usually wins.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Bail for one of them was set at SA Rands 1 million John but I don’t think they should even have been considered for bail. But, by arresting these people it may hopefully lead to more arrests.

I agree with you that stopping them should involve a combination of effort and tactics.

Rgds,

Eeben

Raven said...

Just a thought Eeben,
When is it a PMC or just a PVT (Anti Poaching) Security Co.? Say, much like ADT or CHUB, but focusing on game farms & reserves? There are no laws stopping private founds, founding security guards and patrols. No matter what training & background of the people doing the work on the ground.
Not drawing parallels, but Wynand Du Toit runs a Private Security company without resistance and as far as Intell goes Abraham “Slang” van Zyl is a private Investigator and is known to have worked with the SAPS.
Maybe there’s a gray area where caring individuals and specialists can make a difference & maybe a new career if peace would break out up north..?
Regards
Stefan

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I view a PMC as being focussed on pure military matters pertaining to training, advice and support, Stefan. The PSC is more focussed on general security issues (personal, protection and associated with counter-crime). Both may involve themselves in intelligence gathering but with a different focus – PMC on military intelligence and PSC on criminal intelligence.

Essentially both are force multipliers – the PMC for military forces and the PSC for law enforcement agencies. Switched-on national intelligence services will use both if value can be added to their intelligence gathering operations.

Rgds,

Eeben

lombardment said...

Hi Eeben,
The sad truth is that a dead rhino is worth more than one that is alive.
I am new to your blog and have not yet been through all your previous posts, but have you had a discussion about cash-in-transit-heists? The mention of government officials being involved with the rhino poaching made me think about the CIT heists as I have heard rumours about government officials being behind this too.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Sad but true, Lombardment – they are now ever resorting to poison to kill the rhinos as bullets as obviously too costly. What I fail to understand is how these people continually seem to make bail?

Thanks for visiting the blog. No, I haven’t done anything on CIT heists but as you know, the police are now even robbing homes whilst in uniform with their official vehicles. So, it is highly likely that they, along with their cronies, are behind many of the CIT heists. As long as no drastic action is taken to curtail this type of behaviour, I am afraid it won’t stop soon.

Rgds,

Eeben

Gatvol said...

Many posts on this topic and although over a month old I see this continuing on other forums.
My two cents (worth less today) is that in SA this will only get noise from the Government as there is enough money to go around. Use of Helicopters not being cheap just shows the extent to which these mopes will go.
As to the Government involvement in curbing this or even considering a PMC..............When Pigs Fly comes to mind.
Its going to take some dedicated folks who will lay their collective Butts on the line to curb this. No need to discuss methodology, but with the disappearence of a few of the key players, Im sure the word would travel quickly through the criminal community. Specially if some who disappear are running the show.
Main point is that if nothing is done or the price for these acts does not get brutally high, it will spread worse than it is now.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A lot of noise has been made about this issue Gatvol and I am sure you also know that a lot of “dirty washing” has come out. Big money is a serious motivating factor for the poachers but they seem to know that they will get bail if ever caught. This is not much of a deterrent.

Also, there have been fingers pointed at “high officials”, vets and others engaged in this act.

As you rightly say, it will get worse if the price to pay is considered acceptable.

Rgds,

Eeben

Tango said...

Five rhino poachers shot dead
2011-01-11 22:55

Buks Viljoen, Beeld
Mbombela - Five rhino poachers have been shot dead in the Kruger National Park since Saturday.
...
Three of them were shot dead on Tuesday morning shortly after 06:00 during a shoot-out with rangers in the Pretoriuskop area.

The other two were shot dead on Saturday in the north of the game park, near the Mozambique border. Three of their accomplices fled over the border fence.

According to information obtained confidentially by Beeld, no fewer than ten poachers have been killed in the park over the past five months.

The latest incident was sparked when rangers heard a shot being fired between Pretoriuskop and the Phabeni gate on Tuesday morning.

They discovered a trail of blood, presumably that of an injured rhino, and followed it.

They found three suspected poachers, one of whom was armed with a .303 rifle.

The poachers were apparently also following the trail of blood.

Shot during skirmish

Shots were fired at the rangers when they tried to arrest the poachers. During the ensuing skirmish, all three suspects were shot dead.

Among other things, torches, pangas and bloodied axes were found in their possession.

The rangers are still searching for the injured animal.

In another incident on Saturday morning in the Lower Sabie area, five poachers were discovered a few kilometres from the Mozambique border as they were presumably on their way back to Mozambique.

Two of them were shot dead during the ensuing shoot-out and the other three fled across the border.

Two rhino horns, and a .458 hunting rifle were found with the dead poachers.

In 2010 no fewer than 333 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa. Of that number, 323 were white rhinos and 10 were black rhinos.

Last year 146 rhinos were shot in the Kruger National Park.

R175 000 per horn

Over the past few months the trend has increasingly been to poach rhinos in the north of the game park, near the Mozambique border.

It's easier for the poachers to shoot the animals there and then slip across the border.

Poachers are apparently also paid far more for the rhino horns in Mozambique, a source who prefers to remain anonymous told Beeld.

In South Africa, a poacher is reportedly paid between R25 000 and R30 000 for a horn, while in Mozambique payments can reach up to R25 000 per kilogram.

An adult rhino's horn weighs about 7kg.

Oubaas Coetzer, police spokesperson at Skukuza, confirmed the two shooting incidents in which five poachers were shot dead.

He says 68 poachers have been caught in the game park over the past 12 months.

He referred all other questions about poaching to SANParks.

Five this year

Reynold Thakhuli, spokesperson for SANParks, says the onslaught against rhinos in the game park is growing by the day.

With the new year only 11 days old, five rhinos have already been poached in South Africa. Two of these were in the Kruger Park.

Information obtained confidentially says several rangers have received death threats over the past year.

In at least two cases, messages were found with the carcasses of dead rhinos.

Rangers apparently also received SMSes and messages on their cellphones.

In one case, a letter was left on the carcass, and in another, the death threat was written in the ground near the carcass.See More

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Many thanks for the follow-up info, Tango. I happened to see this in the papers and I must admit that it gave me a thrill. At long last some actions seem to be coming. Let’s hope this serves as a message to the other poachers out there.

Rgds,

Eeben