S Africa rhino ranchers accused of poaching own rhinos for horns

Mail and Guardian

Some rhino owners in South Africa are allegedly dehorning or killing the animals, and then claiming to be victims of poaching.

Some rhino owners are allegedly dehorning or killing the animals, and then claiming to be victims of poaching, the Cape Times reported on Thursday.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela told the newspaper they were aware of allegations of rhino owners attacking their own animals, selling the horns illegally and then covering up the crime.

“We are not prepared to talk about these since they are at their very early stages,” he said, refusing to confirm whether the Hawks were officially investigating these claims.

Three sources linked to the underworld, who could not be named, told the newspaper they knew of game farm and reserve owners who were guilty of this crime.

The owners were either desperate for money or had realised that selling horns was more profitable than keeping their rhinos.

On Tuesday, the environmental affairs department said 281 rhinos had been poached this year, mostly in the Kruger National Park.

Police had arrested 176 individuals in connection with the crimes. – Sapa

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