Four poachers were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment each on charges relating to the poaching of succulent plants.
FOUR poachers were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment each on charges relating to the poaching of succulent plants.
The suspects were apprehended by a multi-sectoral team – comprising members of the Ranger Corp, assisted by the Botanical Team, provincial department officials and the police – for stealing endangered and protected Halfmens trees in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (ARTP) in 2020.
The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform welcomed the conviction.
Department spokesperson Zandisile Luphahla said the sentence will send a stern message that the provincial government is serious about the conservation of succulent plants.
“The conviction will further send a warning to all poachers that we won’t rest until all of them are behind bars,” said Luphahla.
“Poaching of succulent plants is a serious offence and we will not tolerate this type of poaching from anyone. The removal and permanent damage of the 14 Pachypodium Namaquanum is one of the worst cases in the history of the Richtersveld National Park, due to the significant cultural, tourism and natural value of the plants.
“Due to the sensitivity of the species, they will not be able to be rehabilitated into their natural habitat and this will have a negative impact on the specific population. The species are of great value and are seen as a valuable asset to the ARTP, which is the only national park in South Africa where the species is being conserved.
“All plants in our Province are protected and a permit is needed to remove, transport or possess them.”