The rhino poaching suspects in the devastating massacre last week of four rhino on a private game reserve – Inverdoorn – near Ceres in the Klein Karoo, have been arrested and will soon appear in court, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
There was shock and outrage last week after the four majestic rhinos were killed for their horn, and a fifth left severely injured on Inverdoorn Game reserve, just a two-and-a-half hour drive from Cape Town in the Western Cape.
Inverdoorn’s owner Searl Derman said he was “horrified to relive this nightmare! As with our previous poaching incident at Aquila Private Game Reserve in 2011, we will again commit to sparing no expense or effort in the pursuit to catch and bring justice to these vicious perpetrators who massacred our rhino.”
A reward of R100,000 was offered for “confidential information that will lead to the successful arrest of the criminals that brought much heartache and loss to the staff and management of this unique Western Cape private game reserve.”
Today SAPS said: “Four suspects aged between 27 and 56 are expected to make their court appearance in Ceres this morning on charges relating to poaching following their arrest over the weekend.”
The SA police said: “It is suspected that the suspects are responsible for the death of four rhinos and the injury caused to a fifth one on 08 December 2021 on a game reserve in Ceres. Two of the suspects are also facing charges relating to the Immigration Act. Police investigations continues.”
In a heartbreaking message on Thursday, Derman said he and his management and staff had been left “traumatised” by the massacre the night before.
Inverdoorn said in a statement on Aquila Collection’s website that “at approximately 22h30 the 24 hour Anti-Poaching Unit raised the alarm as they found the horrific scene of four shot rhino while on their regular patrols. The initial scene assessment found that two rhinos had already succumbed to their injuries, while the remaining two, although still alive, were heavily injured.
“The team acted fast as a fifth rhino was missing and tracking operations were immediately activated on the 10 000 hectare private game reserve while the management, conservation teams, wildlife veterinarians, law enforcement and others were notified and dispatched to the scene.
“Allegedly, large calibre rifle rounds from silenced weapons were identified on the scene and patrols were intensified to protect all against the heavily armed perpetrators.
“Sadly the Anti-Poaching Unit soon confirmed the death of the two injured rhinos. According to management, one of the killed females was pregnant.
“At approximately 02h00 the team got eyes on the fifth injured female rhino. She was shot in the face, painfully injured but still alive.” A veterinary team is considering facial surgery for her.
Ironically one of the slaughtered rhino had been dehorned to protect it from poachers, and had a fiberglass horn of zero value to the poachers.
To understand more about South Africa’s devastating rhino poaching situation, and the misguided demand for rhino horn in some countries in Asia, watch award-winning STROOP: JOURNEY INTO THE RHINO HORN WAR on Showmax and Showmax International (in most countries abroad).