Rhino files: 7 October 2014

Rhino files: 7 October 2014

Check out the rhino count and the latest news in the war against rhino poaching.




787 Rhinos killed for their horns so far this year

227 People arrested in rhino poaching related crimes 




After months of confusion and contradiction over the removal of Kruger rhino, the South African National Parks (SANParks) has confirmed that the rescue mission will get under way before the end of this month. According to a Sunday Times report, the SANParks board decided last week to sell white rhino on auction and start moving them to safety as soon as possible.

This moves comes after record poaching figures were recorded in September when in a single week, 30 rhino carcasses were found in the southern section of the Kruger Park. The park has lost a total of 531 rhino this year alone.

According to Kuseni Dlamini, SANParks’ board chairperson, they are ready to move the rhino and to implement their rhino management strategy. A SANParks advert in the Sunday Time’s Business Report today also invites buyers to bid to purchase rhino. The plan would involve moving some rhino from the Kruger National Park to create "rhino strongholds" in other parts of the country, ensuring population growth. Rhino would also be relocated from high-risk parts of the park, and from areas where there was a high population density, to lower-risk zones in the park and to other parks.

"We aim to re-stimulate growth in large protected areas while creating new rhino strongholds. In this way, we will be able to offset the effects of poaching in the short to medium-term, while expanding rhino range and improving the overall population size.” Auctioning rhino in line with the management strategy would take place later in the year, he said.




Another article about this: http://www.sanparks.co.za/about/news/default.php?id=56195 





Durban - Abraham Smit, the brother-in-law of alleged rhino poaching kingpin Hugo Ras, had been on the run for more than three years and is wanted by Interpol and the FBI, the Daily Newsreported on Friday. Smit allegedly swindled American Jackie Atkinson out of $600 000. When he failed to turn up for court proceedings, a default judgment of almost $1.1m was issued against him by the Superior Court of California in Tulare county. The judge also issued a warrant for his arrest.

The Daily News quoted the Federal Bureau of Investigations' public information officer, Special Agent Gina Swankie, as saying that Smit is wanted for fleeing criminal prosecution and on six counts of wire fraud, which related to investment fraud.

The Citizen online reported on Friday that Smit, 36, commonly known as Arno, and three others, had been denied bail in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

It was also reported that details of Interpol's arrest warrant for Smit were expected to be placed on record during the bail application.

He is allegedly one of 10 members of a rhino poaching syndicate, allegedly led by Ras, who were arrested on 19 September.

They face 318 charges, including theft, fraud, malicious damage to property, money laundering, intimidation, and the illegal possession of firearms.

Apart from Smit, Ras's wife Trudie, as well as Bonnie Steyn and Willem van Jaarsveld were denied bail by Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair, who, according to The Citizen online, said the State had a strong case.


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