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Hefty prison sentences for 3 rhino poachers caught in Kruger National Park

Three rhino poachers caught in the Kruger National Park were sentenced to a combined 105 years in prison.


Three rhino poachers caught in the Kruger National Park were sentenced to a combined 105 years in prison.

  • Three men have been given lengthy sentences for
    poaching rhinos in the Kruger National Park.
  • The armed men were caught by park rangers as they
    were shooting at rhinos in 2017.
  • They were also found in possession of rhino horns.

The Skukuza Regional Court has sentenced three men
to a combined 105 years in prison for rhino poaching in the Kruger National
Park.

Police said Walter Hendric Mangane, 59; Shangani
Mathebula, 26; and Emmanuel Mdluli, 33, were arrested in 2017 by Kruger
National Park rangers.

The armed men were caught shooting at rhinos and in
possession of rhino horns.

“A report was received by field rangers about
gunshots that were heard in the park. They then responded and followed up on
the information and, thereafter, with the assistance of a tracker dog, spotted
the men,” police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli said on Saturday.

He said: 

Whilst drawing closer, the rangers saw the poachers shooting two rhinoceroses. They immediately summoned a SANParks helicopter for support and the trio were then apprehended. The men were in possession of a rifle, with the serial number filed off, as well as ammunition. The trio were also found with rhino horns which were stashed in backpacks.

They were arrested and the docket was assigned to
the Skukuza Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit for investigation.

The men stood trial and were convicted of
trespassing, rhino poaching and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Mathebula, a Mozambican national, faced an
additional charge of contravention of the Immigration Act, as he was in the
country illegally.

On Friday, the court handed down lengthy prison
sentences. Mangane was sentenced to 45 years, while Mathebula and Mdluli
received 30 years each.

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