Rhino parts found in fridge
Simon Bloch | 2017-01-30 07:25:34.0
Image by: SUPPLIED
A Limpopo businessman will appear in the Lephalale Magistrate’s Court after police found remains of dead rhinos packed in a refrigerated cold-room on his game farm.
The 55 year-old businessman handed himself to the police on Friday after they raided his property following a month-long investigation.
The man, a wealthy businessman and owner of multiple farms, whose identity is known to The Times, was taken into custody in the presence of his lawyer.
Police spokesman Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said there was a breakthrough in the case when members of the provincial Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit obtained a search warrant to raid the property on Friday.
“The officers acted after a month-long investigation into several rhinos that had been illegally slaughtered and dehorned on the farm last November.
“The origin of these rhinos is still being investigated. They were allegedly brought to the farm on trucks and then slaughtered. We are also following up information that a helicopter was seen loading the horns and taking them from the farm,” he said.
Police seized the lower sections of eight rhino legs, together with what is believed to be rhino meat, in the cold-room.
“The task team also seized seven rhino tails and rhino hides [skins] from the farm’s salt-room. Samples of all the body-parts, as well as the meat, will be sent for forensic and DNA analysis,” Mojapelo added.
The owner was arrested when he failed to produce any paperwork to show legal ownership of the rhino body parts.
He allegedly told investigators the meat was to feed to his crocodiles. He will appear in Lephalale Magistrate’s Court today facing charges of illegal hunting of protected species and being in possession of their body parts.
Police expect to make more arrests on the case.