Mozambique convicts and sentences first rhino poachers

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 3 September 2019

Two poachers have been convicted and sentenced for the killing of two rhinos in Limpopo National Park, Mozambique, in a historic court ruling.

South African National Parks (SANParks) welcomed the ruling, congratulating Mozambique’s Justice Department for the successful conviction and sentencing, the first to take place in Mozambique since rhino poaching began in 2008. It is unclear, however, when these poaching incidents took place.

Rhino Friday, Rudi Hulshof

Image: Rudi Hulshof/ Getaway Media Gallery

Limpopo National Park in southern Mozambique’s Gaza Province borders the Kruger National Park. The poachers are reportedly from the province’s Mapai District.

The two poachers were handed a 17 year and 16 year sentence, for the crime of slaughtering two protected animals, illegal possession of unlicensed weapons and illegal possession of ammunition.

“Some of the people we arrest in the Kruger National Park for poaching are from Mozambique, it gives one so much hope to note that the authorities in that country are taking the fight against poaching seriously,” said Fundisile Mketeni, SANParks Chief Executive and Kruger National Park Acting Managing Executive.

“We also note that this is the first conviction and sentencing of rhino poaching in Mozambique since 2008 and we congratulate and encourage them for ensuring that justice is prevalent in this fight,” Mketeni added.

Since 2008, South Africa and Mozambique devised a memorandum of understanding to work together to fight wildlife crimes. The investigation leading to the successful conviction was conducted with the help of the SANParks Environmental Crime Investigative Unit in Phalaborwa.

According to SANParks, details of the poachers’ sentences also include ensuring that reparations and compensation is made to the Mozambican park for damages caused.

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