Suspected springbok smugglers in court

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The truck used in the attempt to smuggle the rare Copper Springbok.

By Hoandi !Gaeb

KEETMANSHOOP – Three men appeared in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of importing and transporting protected game without a permit, defeating the course of justice and fraud.

The case against Ferdi Engelbrecht, 42, Christo Jan Labuschagne, 29, and Pieter Johannes Wessel  46, was postponed to 27 September.

Bail of  N$15 000 each was granted to the three suspected springbok smugglers.

According to the court records the trio allegedly anaesthetised 16 Copper Springbok worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and transported them over the border from South Africa, hiding the animals under lucerne in the back of a truck.

The truck was apparently fully packed with lucerne and a mall corridor was created underneath the lucerne where the anaesthetised animals were kept.

Police at Keetmanshoop received a tip-off from an anonymous informer and they followed the truck from the border up to the Keetmanshoop weigh bridge where the trio was arrested and the truck impounded.

Four of the valuable animals died during the trip from South Africa, while police destroyed the rest of the scarce and protected animals.

New Era understands that at a recent auction in Namibia, Copper Springbok were sold for more than N$100 000 each.

It is reported that the import of game such as the Copper Springbok from South Africa is illegal and prohibited.

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