Police on Saturday arrested three South Africans as they attempted to smuggle 29 sables out of Zimbabwe via an undesignated point along the two countries’ border.
The animals — seven males, 16 females and six calves — are valued at US$348 000 and are believed to have been destined for a farm in South Africa.
Edwin Hewitt (49), Hendricks Johannes Blignaut (41) and John Herbert Pretorias (49) were transporting the sables in two trucks. They were intercepted in a joint sting by Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and police.
They will appear in court this week facing charges of illegal capture and translocation of wildlife, attempting to export the sables illegally and crossing an international boundary using an undesignated point.
It is believed the animals were captured and transported from a private conservancy owned by a Mr Ian Parsons in the Lowveld.
Parks Authority’s spokesperson Ms Carol Washaya-Moyo said the trio was caught when the two trucks got stuck in mud along a gravel road in Beitbridge.
“The South Africans had no capture and translocation permits and had no export permits for the sables. The only documentation they had was a movement permit issued by the Department of Veterinary Services, Hwange office.
“The three wanted to exit Zimbabwe through an undesignated point. It is also believed that they first entered Zimbabwe through Pandamatenga Border Post.”
Zimbabwe’s wildlife conservation has been under global spotlight following the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Hwange on July 1, 2015, who was popular with Western tourists. Sunday Mail