Mistrust in police ranks, a shortage of proper intelligence structures and an easy exit through South Africa’s more than nine harbours are all stumbling blocks specialised police experience in the ongoing battle against rhino poaching.
This was how Colonel Johan Jooste, operational commander of the Hawks endangered species unit in South Africa outlined some issues facing his unit. He was addressing the 35th international conference of crime fighters in Cape Town this week, Netwerk24 reports.“…We find instances where police are involved in rhino poaching syndicates,” he said, adding police detailed to anti- and counter-poaching should receive specialist training….
Knowledgeable hunters in South Africa are recruited by buyers of rhino horn. They are also responsible for removing the horn and taking it to the next person in the chain, usually someone responsible for transport. “It can be someone who knows the area well and can also be either a policeman or a traffic officer,” he said, adding the horn was stored or taken to places such as harbours for illegal export. The Kruger National Park has this year lost 503 rhinos to poachers out of a national total of 787.
Excerpts, Rhino poachers present different challenges to the Hawks, defenceWeb, Tuesday, Oct. 14 2014