Home News ‘Bleeding’ rhino horn found in Johannesburg car crash

‘Bleeding’ rhino horn found in Johannesburg car crash

Published on 01/03/2012

Four men, including one in a South African National Parks uniform, were arrested after being found with a fake rhino horn that they apparently intended to sell on the black market as genuine, police said Thursday.

The odd discovery came after the men had a car crash outside Johannesburg, when police found a cooler bag with what looked like a rhino horn still dripping in blood.

But upon further examination, the horn was found to be wooden, said McIntosh Polela, spokesman for the elite Hawks unit of the police.

“The guys obviously did a very good job to try and make it look like the real thing, and we suspect they had a prospective buyer, and we suspect that’s what they had prepared it for,” he told AFP.

“One of them is wearing a South African National Parks uniform, and we have asked the South African National Parks to check if any of them worked for him.”

The four men are being held in custody as police investigate further, he added.

The latest arrests came one day after four employees of the world-famous Kruger National Park were arrested for rhino poaching, raising concerns about the role played by park employees in the burgeoning illicit trade.

A record 448 rhinos were killed last year, more than half of them in Kruger, as South Africa struggles to rein in a deadly surge in poaching.

The horns are sought by international syndicates who sell them to the Asian traditional medicine market, where they are believed to have powerful healing properties.