Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is Groenewald the link to Vietnamese ivory syndicates?

Eyewitness News can reveal that alleged rhino poaching kingpin Dawie Groenewald bought more than 30 rhinos from the South African National Parks (SANParks) over a period of just two months last year.

Eyewitness News is in possession of a detailed transaction record which forms part of a police case against an alleged Vietnamese smuggler. But SANParks said there was nothing unusual about the sale and it could not have known Groenewald would be implicated in poaching.

Records show that it was to Groenewald’s farm, labelled an “animal slaughterhouse” in the media, that SANParks sold 36 rhinos between early June and late July last year. Some of the animals had horns measuring 65cm.

Police have now finished searching the Limpopo farm, finding around 30 live rhinos and a number of carcasses.

SANParks has defended the sale saying it was not unprecedented. But it said it is reviewing the entire procedure and plans to improve the vetting process.

Groenewald was arrested in September along with two vets and eight others. At least 232 rhino have been killed for their horns in South Africa this year.

–By Alex Eliseev, Eye Witness News, 29/10/2010

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