Three men convicted on 12 charges related to rhino poaching have been sentenced to a combined 63 years in prison.
The Skukuza regional court sentenced Isaac Zitha, 41, Oscar Ndlovu, 38, and Richard Mkhombo 39, on Tuesday — a move welcomed by South African National Parks on Wednesday.
The trio was convicted of an incident that took place in the Stolznek section of the Kruger National Park (KNP) in 2017. Rangers heard gunshots while on patrol and Ndlovu was found hiding in the area and promptly arrested. The rangers called in their K9 colleagues who led them to a backpack and two other suspects, Isaac and Given Zitha.
The backpack contained two rhino horns and a rifle, linked to a carcass found nearby.
The accused were granted bail.
Given Zitha absconded and is still being sought by the police.