Airport workers arrested for killing wild dogs

15 February 2019 | Crime

Six security and maintenance workers at Hosea Kutako International Airport have been arrested for illegally trespassing onto a private animal reserve and killing two African wild dogs.

African wild dogs are Africa's most endangered carnivore species.

The incident happened on Tuesday at Zannier Reserve, located near the airport and the N/a'an ku sê Lodge and Wildlife Sanctuary.

Zannier Reserve partnered with the N/a'an ku sê Foundation to create a nature reserve of 9 000 hectares. According to the N/a'an ku sê Foundation the reserve acts as a haven for wildlife.

“A haven that instead became a scene of brutality this week,” the foundation said in a statement.

Two wild dogs were killed and a third was severely injured and is fighting for his life at the N/a'an ku sê Veterinary Clinic.

According to the foundation a neighbouring farmer became aware of suspicious activity on Tuesday morning and immediately alerted N/a'an ku sê staff.

“The African wild dogs in question remained on the reserve side, with no evidence of them having left the property and straying onto airport ground,” the foundation said.

The remains of a hunt were clearly evident, a kudu having been chased and caught on the reserve side by the wild dogs, next to the fence dividing the reserve and the airport grounds.

“Numerous studies have shown that African wild dogs make use of man-made structures and perimeter fences when bringing down prey, and the pack of five regularly made use of the fence line when hunting,” according to the foundation.

It said upon further inspection, shotgun shell casings and tracks were discovered, indicating illegal trespassing onto the reserve.

The manager of the Zannier Reserve called the police and members of the Protected Resources Unit (PRU) investigated the crime scene.

The foundation said the airport maintenance manager was informed of the suspected involvement of airport personnel and the manager made immediate enquiries.

“Three airport security and three airport maintenance personnel were identified with a kudu carcass in the back of a vehicle. The suspects were taken to the scene, where the police searched the vehicle for evidence.”

The six suspects, believed to have trespassed and shot the wild dogs in order to obtain their kudu prey, were charged and remain in police custody.

The N/a'an ku sê veterinarian, Dr Kobus Hoffman, performed autopsies on the two dead dogs and found that they had been shot with a 12-gauge shotgun. The third dog was wounded in the neck and head.

The dogs were part of a pack of five African wild dogs that had been brought to the N/a'an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary as pups.



ELLANIE SMIT

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