A U.S. nationwide has been arrested in South Africa on wildlife trafficking and firearms prices, South African authorities have introduced.
Derek Lewitton, a Texan, was arrested Dec. 22 following a raid on his Concord Gate Property ranch in Limpopo Province by the South African Police Companies’ Directorate for Precedence Crime Investigation (DPCI) models.
Limpopo Police spokesman Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba stated authorities found 26 rhinoceros carcasses at Lewitton’s ranch and 10 unmarked rhino horns in a protected, in addition to seven allegedly unlawful firearms and “a whole lot of rounds of ammunition” in an hours-long operation following a police tip-off.
“From the helicopter the place regarded like a slaughterhouse,” stated Provincial Commissioner of Police Main Basic Jan Scheepers, describing the scene. “All over the place you regarded, rhinos have been mendacity there lifeless.”
Investigations are underway into the circumstances on the ranch that led to the animals’ deaths, in keeping with Scheepers, who additionally stated there are more likely to be “many extra” carcasses on the property.
Derek Lewitton and his spouse, Xenja Lewitton, are founders of Black Rock Rhino, a non-public conservation group that states its “goal is to avoid wasting all rhino species from extinction, and to breed them again to wholesome populations,” in keeping with its web site.
“Throughout South Africa, devoted households like ours proceed to place the whole lot they’ve into offering rhino with the protected habitat they should thrive, and these households are succeeding,” the web site says. “Whereas rhino numbers in government-managed reserves have plummeted by 90% previously 10 years, the households who maintain rhino protected on non-public reserves have greater than tripled their rhino populations – rising the three,000 rhino they protected 10 years in the past into an estimated 10,500 rhino at the moment.”
Derek Lewitton appeared Wednesday in Namakgale Justice of the Peace’s Courtroom in Limpopo and was formally charged with alleged wildlife trafficking and firearms offenses. He’s additionally charged below South Africa’s Nationwide Environmental Administration Act for his alleged possession of, and restricted actions with, rhino horn specimens. Officers stated Lewitton will stay in custody till a bail listening to scheduled for Jan. 3.
Black Rock Rhino didn’t instantly reply to ABC Information’ request for remark about Lewitton’s arrest.
This text by Emma Ogao was first revealed by ABC Information on 29 December 2023. Lead Picture: Orphaned rhinos in South Africa below menace. Over the previous decade, rhino numbers have decreased dramatically in South Africa as a result of poaching. Some nature conservatories are on a mission to avoid wasting the animals earlier than it’s too late.
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