Game Rangers Association of Africa pays tribute to Anton Mzimba as police
probe continues accreditation
Cebelihle Bhengu, News 24
August 2, 2022
The Game Rangers Association of Africa has paid tribute to Anton Mzimba,
the highly-regarded ranger murdered a few days before World Ranger Day.
Mzimba was the head of ranger services at the Timbavati Private Nature
Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park.
The anti-poaching ranger died after he and his wife were attacked by three
suspects at their home in Edinburgh Trust, in Mpumalanga, last week Tuesday.
The association said Mzimba was one of 295 rangers who had been murdered on
the continent since 2011. Between June 2021 and last month, the association
recorded 100 ranger deaths, with 95 of them killed on duty.
The association called for a thorough investigation into the attack, saying
it would show support for rangers who often live in fear of their safety,
and would send a strong message to perpetrators, who are often "militia
groups, terrorists and bandits", that they will be held accountable.
To mark World Ranger Day on Sunday, the association said:
Anton was a leader in the African ranger community and his assassination
marks a potential escalation in the lengths to which wildlife trafficking
cartels will go to intimidate and discourage the conservation of rhinos,
elephants and all of Africa's natural heritage.
Mpumalanga police told News24 on Monday that they had not made any arrests
in connection with the murder.
They are looking for three suspects who were driving a white VW Polo on the
day of Mzimba's murder.
News24 reported there were claims Mzimba was the target of a syndicate
opposed to his anti-poaching efforts.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, would not
speculate on the motive for the murder as the investigation was ongoing.
Mzimba's wife was critically injured and was fighting for her life in
Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy said
Mzimba's murder highlighted the threats faced by rangers and the need to
protect them from crime syndicates.
She said: We are reminded of the threats that rangers face from poachers
and their crime bosses on a daily basis. These are men and women that
deserve our respect and support as we join hands to improve their safety.
The minister said 259 rhinos were poached in SA in the first half of this
year, compared to 249 rhinos poached during the same period last year.
Creecy said joint efforts by law enforcement had resulted in 69 suspected
rhino poachers arrested between January and June this year.