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SOS Rhino : In the News : Hunter charged with stealing rhino
 

Hunter charged with stealing rhino

  The Mercury
SOUTH AFRICA

September 10, 2003
By Tania Broughton

A professional hunter from Mkhuze in northern KwaZulu-Natal has appeared in court charged with stealing a white rhino and illegally allowing it to be hunted by a German doctor.

Geffert Pretorius, who, with his father, runs a commercial game reserve at Nonile, is alleged to have stolen the white rhino bull from another hunter, Timothy John Rudmann, and a New Orleans-based lawyer, Eric Skrmetta.

Rudmann and Skrmetta bought the rhino at a KZN Wildlife auction and had an arrangement with Pretorius to keep it on his farm.

However, the State alleges that Pretorius attempted to sell it to a neighbour for R150 000, pretending it was his to sell.

When the neighbour turned him down, he approached a German doctor, Christian G Schippers who paid him R190 000 to hunt the rhino and export the "trophy" back to Germany, it is alleged.

Apart from theft and fraud, Pretorius faces 10 other charges of contravening nature conservation legislation. These relate to his failure to obtain a valid permit to hunt the animal, his failure as a professional hunter to ensure lawful hunting and his failure to obtain licences, permits and exemptions for his client.

When he appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court yesterday, Pretorius, 38, was granted bail of R5 000 and forced to surrender his passport. He appears in court again on September 29.