A 23-year-old man who pleaded guilty to trespassing at Kruger National Park for poaching has been sentenced to an effective nine years behind bars.
A 23-YEAR-old man who pleaded guilty to trespassing at Kruger National Park for poaching has been sentenced to an effective nine years behind bars.
Rich Ricardo Chauke was convicted and sentenced in the Skukuza Regional Court.
According to Nelspruit police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, Chauke and two others went poaching at Kruger National Park on April 9, 2021.
“They illegally entered through the Houtboschrand Section of the park. The field rangers who were on duty were busy patrolling when they noticed some footprints on the tarred road. With the assistance of a tracking dog they found three people hiding in a thick bush. Two of the intruders fled. However, Chauke was caught and arrested.”
Mohlala said the accused was found in possession of a .458 Win Mag bolt-action rifle with no serial numbers, two cartridges, three backpacks and an axe.
Chauke was arrested by police and charged with trespassing, possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition and possession of a dangerous weapon.
“After police determined that the accused was originally from Mozambique and was in South Africa illegally, a charge of contravention of the Immigration Act was added against him.”
Chauke was sentenced to three years for trespassing, one year for contravention of the Immigration Act, six years for possession of an unlicensed firearm, two years for possession of unlicensed ammunition, and one year for possession of a dangerous weapon.
“The accused was declared unfit to possess a firearm,” said Mohlala.
The provincial commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, welcomed the sentence, adding: “We hope that the sentence will serve as a deterrent and that people will begin to understand the importance of preserving and protecting nature as well as the endangered species even for the next generation.“