A pair of suspected rhino poachers were shot and killed during a confrontation on 6 March in South Africa’s, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. A third suspect managed to escape.

Environmental Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said on Sunday, 15 March:

‘One of the men who was killed was a well-known high-level rhino poacher. He had been charged with the illegal possession of rhino horns in 2017,

One heavy calibre hunting rifle, as well as knives, commonly used to remove rhino horns, were recovered at the scene by the South African Police Service.’

This came as a result of using drone and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to combat poaching.

Dube-Ncube continued:

‘One of the key instruments being used is the installation of infrared trap cameras linked directly to the Parks Operational Centre.

The reaction unit members who came under immediate threat defended themselves, which resulted in the two suspects being mortally wounded,’

The cameras used AI to identify the suspects and sent an immediate alert to an operations centre which immediately activated reaction units providing a number of people, a grid reference and direction of the incursion.



She added that one of the men was suspected of coordinating groups of poachers to target Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

According to Dube-Ncube, 28 rhinos have already been killed in the park this year.

‘Such illegal activities have resulted in the loss of biodiversity and destruction of the ecosystem. Despite these alarming figures, we wish to commend communities that are working with us to fight rhino poaching.’