Omulunga – Four men, including a school principal, were caught red-handed with 12 carcasses of wild animals yesterday, which they allegedly hunted illegally outside Etosha.
It is reported that on Wednesday afternoon a member of the public alerted the police that gunshots were heard near the Etosha National Park. When the police rushed to the area, they noticed suspicious movements, which they monitored throughout the night.
The police, under the command of the Oshikoto Deputy Commissioner for Operations William Peter, who has been active in the ongoing anti-poaching operation campaigns as second in command, eventually caught up with four suspects at a local primary school.
Among the 12 poached wild animals they confiscated are three duiker, a steenbok, four springhares, a rabbit and two red-crested korhaans.
It was reported that the suspects have long pretended to be collecting wood in the area, when in fact they were hunting wild animals for the pot. The police arrested the suspects in the vicinity of a school, where they were busy skinning the animals and preparing them for consumption.
The police also confiscated two rifles, a shotgun and a 2.2 air rifle, believed to have been used in the illicit hunting.
They also impounded a Toyota Hilux that transported the hunted animals. The suspects’ cannot be named yet, pending their appearance in court.
Deputy Commissioner Peter also informed the media that since they took over in September from retired Commissioner Ndahangwapo Kashihakumwa, they have arrested 21 suspects in connection with illegal hunting.
Kashihakumwa was the first commander to launch investigations into poaching in Etosha. He noted that 62 rhinos from the nearby Etosha National Park have been poached in the area over the past seven years with the purpose of dehorning the rhinos.
By Wednesday some 24 suspects had also been arrested in connection with rhino poaching. The operation started last month.
The police are offering a reward of N$62 000 to anyone who offers information that leads to the arrest of more people in connection with illegal hunting. The police informer in the latest case will be a beneficiary of the reward money.
by Loide Jason