Two Limpopo veterinarians have been arrested in connection with ‘hundreds’ of rhino poaching incidents
The names of two veterinarians involved in the slaughter of hundreds of rhinos in South Africa have been released by the media: Dr. Karel Toet and his wife, Marisa, along with one of Toet’s partners, Dr. Manie du Plessis, were arrested along with seven others. According to South Africa’s News24, the doctors own the Nylstroom animal clinic, as well as Limpopo Wildlife, which is involved with catching and transporting game on farms.
National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo stated that the nine suspects are believed to be the “masterminds” behind South Africa’s poaching scourge, which has claimed the lives of 210 rhinos already this year. These people were supposedly involved with killing rhinos, selling the horns and disposing of the carcasses. The investigation was reportedly carried out by the Hawks and the arrests were made by a team consisting of members from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), SANParks, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and the department of nature conservation. Last week, Tom Fourie, a well-known figure in wildlife circles in Musina, was arrested, but is already out on R2,000 bail. The nine suspects, including the Toets and Dr. Du Plessis, are apparently being held in Musina. Charges will be announced at their court appearance on Wednesday.
Three more people have been named in the recent arrest of nine rhino poaching syndicate “masterminds” responsible for killing hundreds of rhinos.
The names of three more people believed to be responsible the killing of hundreds of rhinos in South Africa have been released by the media: Dawie Groenewald and his wife Sariette, of Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris in Polokwane, and Tielman Erasmus, a professional hunter, are now behind bars and awaiting their Wednesday court appearance. Also among the nine people arrested are veterinarian Dr. Karel Toet and his wife, Marisa, along with one of Toet’s partners, Dr. Manie du Plessis. The doctors own Nylstroom animal clinic and Limpopo Wildlife, which is involved with catching and transporting game on farms.
Suspended from PHASA, banned from Zimbabwe – and arrested in the US
South Africa’s News24 noted that Groenewald is a former police official who was suspended four years ago from the Professional Hunters Association, and has apparently been banned since 2004 from hunting in Zimbabwe. It was also reported that Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris was working with Mugabe henchmen. During the height of political instability in Zimbabwe, the organisation apparently organised hunting safaris on farms and land invaded by Zanu-PF’s “war veterans”. In addition, Groenewald was arrested in the US earlier this year for his involvement with the illegal hunting of a leopard. His punishment amounted to slap on the wrist: A USD $30,000 (R228,000) fine, USD $7,500 (R57,000) in damages to the American hunter, eight days in an American jail, and two months of house arrest.
A helicopter connection
With helicopters being used in many rhino poaching cases in South Africa, it is not surprising that Groenewald is believed to be connected to a “closed corporation” which owns a Robinson R44 helicopter. The registration is ZS-HBH, according to the South African Aircraft register. The helicopter is said to be owned by Valinor Trading 142, of which his wife, Sariette, is listed as a director.