167 rhino horn, estimated at R300 million, seized in North West

One of South Africa’s largest hauls of rhino horn was confiscated at the weekend. On Saturday, April 13, South African Police Services (SAPS) seized a shocking 167 rhino horns in the Hartbeespoort Dam area. Two suspects aged 57 and 61 were arrested and are expected to appear in the Brits Magistrate Court.

An operation by the Hawks Serious Organised Crime Endangered Species Unit, Special Task force, Tracker SA and Vision Tactical led to the arrests after information surfaced that a vehicle that from a coastal province, was carrying a considerable number of rhino horns.

According to Roar Wildlife News, the estimated value of the rhino horn is more than R300 million. They have estimated that an average weight of a rhino horn is 8kgs with an estimated value of $30 000 per kilogram.

Seized rhino horn.   Picture: Roar Wildlife News

Along with the 167 rhino horn, firearms and cash were also seized. The rhino horns were destined for the South East Asian markets.

Julian Rademeyer, author of Killing for Profit, said in a tweet: “Markings on the horns including weights and registration numbers would suggest that they originated from a stockpile of some kind.”

This comes after 82.5kg of rhino horn worth R29 million was smuggled from South Africa and seized at Hong Kong International Airport. Read: Rhino horn seized at Hong Kong airport.

The demand for rhino horn comes from consumers in China and Vietnam. It is used in traditional medicine practices. Rhino horn is primarily made of keratin, the same protein that human hair and fingernails are made of.


Image source: Unsplash

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