Posted in DSC News Center
After almost a decade of delays in court, three rhino
poachers were officially sentenced by a court in South Africa this March.
In August 2009, several park
game rangers set up a roadblock after hearing gunshots. Shortly after, three
men were stopped, and promptly arrested, after the rangers and Anti-Poaching
Unit found a rifle, two bloody axes and rhino horn.
However, the suspects used
various tactics to delay the trial over the years, which caused several
witnesses and officers to be excused for being too ill or too far away
geographically to participate.
Finally in March, one
suspect received a 14-year sentence, and the other two received 10 years. It
was the second rhino poaching conviction for one of them, for which he has
already served a six-year sentence.
While the conviction is
supported across the board, many critics and political affiliations in South
Africa (such as the Inkatha Freedom Party) are calling for stronger wildlife
In February 2019, the South African Department of
Environmental Affairs released the 2018 poaching numbers: 769 rhinos. While
still a large number, the 2018 statistic show a decrease of 259 from the 1,028
rhinos poached in 2017.