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SOS Rhino : In the News : Archived News : February 2002 : Kruger battles new kind of poacher

Kruger battles new kind of poacher


Source: African Eye News Service
Peter Morrison
February 1, 2002

The Kruger National Park is battling a new kind of rhino poacher - one who steals the fluid inside the animal's horn, rather than the horn itself.

Skukuza police station spokesman Inspector Johannes "Oubaas" Coetzer reportedly said six rhinos were poached last year and their horns drained of the fluid. "We know they're not interested in the horns, because we've either found the horn at the scene, or later arrested suspected poachers who said they found old horns lying in the veld."

Inspector Coetzer is quoted as saying. "Those who poached the animals for the fluid in the horns did not sneak into the park, but drove through its gates as visitors."

"Agents drive into the park with a team of people who are paid about R50 each to go into the bush once they've spotted a rhino," he said. The poachers kill, dehorn and sap the horn's fluid and are collected and exit the park through its gates again. "It's virtually impossible to catch them," said Inspector Coetzer. "If they stole the horns, it might be easier, because the horns are large and heavy and difficult to carry or hide easily."

Kruger National Park spokesman William Mabasa confirmed the spate of poaching last year and said he could not deny or confirm that the rhinos were killed for the fluid in their horns. "Most of the time we can't find the horns," he said. "This also makes it difficult for police to convict people." So far, no one has been arrested in connection with last year's incidents, the article states.



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