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IN an ongoing attempt by vigilant citizens to rid our waterways and coastline of poacher activities, an anti-poaching group, together with members of Meerensee CPF, confiscated another suspected poacher’s boat and nets.
The team, which patrols the areas around Mzingazi canal, was alerted to possible poaching activity at about 8pm on Wednesday night when George Shacks and Jaco Pretorius uncovered a poacher’s boat.
It appeared brand new and had with it bags of brand new nets, each measuring about 100m in length.
The nets reportedly cost about R800 each.
Morgan Smit, Chucky van der Merwe and Kallie Denner were the next responders to the scene, followed by Sean Koekemoer and Joshua Pretorius.
‘At the site, some fishermen saw the same bakkie we spotted on two previous occasions when poachers’ boats and nets have been confiscated,’ said Denner.
The poacher’s boat appeared new, and was stashed in the bush along with bags of brand new nets, each measuring about 100m in length
Although the vehicle’s licence plates have previously been reported to the police, they cannot be traced as, according to the records, the plates do not match the vehicle.
Being relatively early at night, the suspected poachers were still in the process of laying the nets in the canal and fled when the anti-poaching team pursued them.
The suspects were, however, lost in the darkness and dense bush.
The boat and nets were confiscated and handed in to SAPS Waterwing and a case was opened.
‘On this occasion, at least we prevented poaching from taking place, but it is an ongoing battle that requires much dedication and commitment,’ said Denner.
George Shacks and Sean Koekemoer hold the poachers’ nets that were confiscated on Wednesday night
PHOTOS: Kallie Denner
Apart from the poaching equipment, the suspects had clothes, food and blankets, which indicates that they were prepared to spend the night there.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s marine officers were last year disbanded and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) given control of monitoring KZN’s coastline.
Without a dedicated team in this region, and with only two DAFF officials visiting Zululand every two weeks, it is imperative that groups of vigilant citizens such as this anti-poaching team, undertake regular patrols, which they do as volunteers in their spare time.
Despite this, and the enormity of the task at hand, the anti-poaching team’s efforts are bearing fruit.