Cape Town plays its part in restricting Poaching!
Staff from the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management and Law Enforcement Departments, in conjunction with the South African Police Services (SAPS), managed to prevent a poaching expedition in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve on Thursday 28 June 2012.
At approximately 11:00 on Thursday, Conservation Compliance Officers from the City’s Biodiversity Management Branch received an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public that a group of people, with an unknown number of dogs, were making their way to the reserve. The group was spotted in the area near Vissershok farm and Morningstar, next to the N7 highway. The number of dogs with the group led the informant to believe that they intended to hunt wildlife in the reserve.
The Conservation Compliance Officers responded to the tip-off immediately and spotted the suspects with the dogs as they were about to enter the nature reserve behind Blaauwberg Hill. The officers called for the assistance of the City’s Law Enforcement staff and the SAPS. On spotting the Conservation Compliance Officers, the group of suspected poachers veered into the bush away from the nature reserve, heading in the direction of Dunoon.
The Conservation Compliance Officers, Law Enforcement Officers and SAPS officers gave chase and tracked the would-be poachers through the bush. Members of the public at the Morningstar Airfield also assisted by tracking the poachers with two helicopters. The group was eventually spotted close to the Vissershok farm.
Officers arrested three suspects on suspicion of trespassing and hunting illegally in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, and impounded 12 dogs. All three of the suspects are from the Dunoon informal settlement. Some of the poachers managed to escape, despite patrols late into the afternoon. The three suspects were taken to the Table View Police Station and charged with trespassing.
“This operation was a great success in that City staff managed to prevent the poachers from hunting in the reserve before they even managed to get onto the property. Poaching is a serious threat to our reserves and the apprehension of members of a suspected syndicate like this one is a major victory. We are grateful to the Conservation Compliance and Law Enforcement Officers, members of the SAPS, and the Morningstar Airfield (which provided aerial support),” said the Blaauwberg Area Manager, Jacques Kuyler.
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