Three SANParks employees were arrested after they were found in possession of fresh rhino horn at the Kruger National Park.
The three staff members were arrested during an intelligence-driven operation between SANParks and the SA police outside Kruger Gate on Tuesday, spokesperson Isaac Phaahla said.
“The arrest of the suspects followed after the law enforcement officials chased after their car, which was found with a fresh set of rhino horns,” Phaahla said.
Phaahla said two of the officials were employed as security guards and one was attached to technical services at one of the rest camps.
Kruger National Park managing executive Gareth Coleman said it was “disheartening when colleagues from SANParks are involved in criminal activities”.
“It breaks down trust among employees which impacts on our responsibilities to act as an effective conservation authority serving the people of SA,” he said.
“While they may succeed in the short term, history shows that they will eventually be caught and this will be at the expense of their employment, the wellbeing of their families and community.”
Between July and September, the anti-poaching teams arrested 16 suspected poachers inside the park and confiscated seven rifles.
The teams also observed and followed up on 410 poaching activities, sightings, spoors and camps in the last three months.
“SANParks remains committed to doing everything in its power to stop poaching and help secure the future of fauna and flora for sustainable use and for the benefit of future generations,” added Coleman.