Poachers arrested with estimated 11000 rare species
Two sting operations by CapeNature and the SAPS Stock Theft Unit has led to the arrests of poachers who were in illegal possession of an estimated 11,000 endangered succulent plants destined for the illegal plant trade.
Anton Bredell, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Development Planning and Local Government including CapeNature, says the arrests were made on 30 April and 8 May in the Matzikama region
“Following an increase in biodiversity crime in the Matzikama area during the last two years, primarily the illegal collection of succulent plants and lizards, CapeNature’s staff at Vanrhynsdorp joined forces with the SAPS Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit and Provincial Traffic Services in an attempt to curb these illegal activities. Partnerships with other government agencies, have proven to be invaluable, allowing for focused and co-ordinated biodiversity conservation compliance and enforcement efforts leading to successful apprehensions and prosecutions.”
Bredell says during the Covid-19 lockdown, reserves and parks are closed to the public but anti-poaching and compliance patrols do continue, particularly in coastal reserves and Marine Protected Areas.
“In April, three groups of hikers illegally accessed the Cederberg Wilderness area. Vehicles, drivers and hikers were apprehended and turned over to SAPS who issued relevant fines and warnings. We want to urge the public to work with us and to adhere to lockdown regulations. In addition I want to congratulate the partners and our staff in the Matzikama region on their successes in protecting our biodiversity in the province.”
CapeNature is a public institution mandated to promote and ensure biodiversity conservation within the Western Cape. The organisation manages most of the mountain catchments and reserves that supply ecosystem services to the citizens of the Western Cape. This requires good scientific data, a sound understanding of fynbos ecology and commitment to the principles of integrated biodiversity management and planning. Much of these efforts are in remote areas out of the public eye, but have a direct bearing on the quality of life of millions of people in the province. www.capenature.co.za
Spokesperson for the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell
Mobile: 084 583 1670
Telephone: 021 483 2820
Petro van Rhyn
General Manager | Advocacy
Eco-Tourism & Access
tel: 087 087 3189