The Law Firm of Piacentile, Stefanowski & Malherbe LLP

Three Poachers Arrested at Kruger National Park Thanks to Whistleblower

On June 1st, 2022, a tourist at Kruger National Park informed law enforcement of gunshots they heard. The gunshots came from three poachers, who had killed four rhinoceroses. These three men snuck into the park. Kruger National Park is located in Northeastern South Africa. The Park is home to Lions, Leopards, Rhinoceroses, Elephants, Buffalos, and hundreds of other mammalian and bird species. After the tourist whistleblower’s tip was provided to field agents, field agents apprehended the three poachers. The three suspects additionally violated South Africa’s immigration laws, illegally entered the Park, and were charged with illegal possession of unlicensed firearms with ammunition. 

Wildlife poaching is the illegal hunting and capturing of wild animals. It is a serious issue that threatens biodiversity and has led to the extinction of many species. Wildlife poaching is a problem that has been around for centuries. It became particularly prevalent during the colonial era, when Europeans would go to Africa and hunt animals for sport. However, it was not until the 1970s that wildlife poaching became a serious conservation issue. This is because the demand for animal products, such as ivory and horns, increased dramatically. As a result, poachers began to target more and more animals, and the number of animals being killed each year rose sharply. 

Today, wildlife poaching is still a major problem. Every year, thousands of animals are killed by poachers. Rhinos are one of the animals that are most often poached, and they are in danger of becoming extinct because of it. Poachers illegally hunt Rhinos for their horns. Rhino horns are used in many Asian countries to make traditional medicines. Some persons use Rhino horns to display signs of wealth (this is particularly so in Vietnam). The Rhino population in the Park has declined by 60% since 2013. The legal system in South Africa has been criticized for not doing enough to prosecute poachers, who are often released with little to no bail and go on to continue their illegal poaching. 

What can be done to stop wildlife poaching? One way to help is by supporting organizations that are working to combat it. The World Wildlife Fund is one such organization. They work to raise awareness about the problem of wildlife poaching and to protect endangered species. You can also help by not buying products that have been made from illegally poached animals. This includes things like ivory and rhino horn. By not supporting the demand for these products, we can help to reduce the incentive for poachers to kill animals.

Wildlife poaching is a serious problem that needs to be stopped. We can all do our part to help by supporting organizations that are working to combat it and by not buying products and by blowing the whistle if aware of any instances of illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching.