South African National Parks (SANParks) rangers apprehended 48 suspected abalone poachers on Thursday, 24 January 2020, on the Western side of the Park between Keurbooms and Salt River in Tsitsikamma, South Africa. (Watch video at bottom of page.)
Once caught, suspects were taken to the nearest police station by the South African Police Services (SAPS). Some even had scuba diving gear.
More than 142 kg of abalone was confiscated. Abalone poaching is big business in SA. In February 2018 a sting operation by the Hawks and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) led to the seizure of 1.6 tonnes of abalone valued at R2.37 million! The illegally harvested abalone was discovered at Durban port, in a container from the Eastern Cape, destined for a ship to Sri Lanka.
This week SANParks Chief Executive Officer, Fundisile Mketeni thanked the rangers, Cape Nature and the SAPS for a job well done in arresting such a large number of poachers.
“Our organisation is part of local policing forums in the Garden Route towns, as a result, we are able to fight poaching as a collective,” said Mketeni.
According to a 2017 investigation by Carte Blanche, abalone poaching is so rampant in South Africa it is driving the shellfish to extinction.
The suspects are expected to appear in court on Monday. They are believed to come from Gansbaai, a small town in the Western Cape.
— South Africa People – SAPeople.com (@sapeople) January 26, 2020