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Kruger National Park, South Africa

February 5, 2012 by staff 

Kruger National Park, South Africa, South African Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has welcomed the 25-year sentences handed down to three Mozambicans this week, as the country steps up its efforts to combat rhino poaching.

The poachers were sentenced by the Phalaborwa Regional Court on Tuesday for illegally hunting rhinos in South Africa’s Kruger National Park in 2010.

Aselmo Baloyi, Jawaki Nkuna and Ismael Baloyi were found guilty on four counts including illegal hunting of rhino, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition.

Molewa said the sentence would send a strong message to poachers. She was optimistic that the sentence, coupled with increasing anti-poaching measures by the country’s law enforcement agencies, would serve as a deterrent.

These measures include the South African National Defence Force returning to monitor the 350km of national border in Kruger National Park and other country borders, as well as the deployment of conservation specialists at ports through which the trade in endangered species can be exported and imported.

The Department of Water and Environmental and South African National Parks are also in the process of beefing up patrols in the Kruger National Park with the deployment of an additional 150 rangers.

Bilateral engagements between South Africa and Mozambique to deal with cross-border law enforcement are also ongoing, while South Africans have been urged to report any illegal rhino activities by calling the dedicated line 0800 205 005.

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