Three SANParks’ employees from South Africa’s Kruger National Park have been arrested Sunday on suspicion of rhino poaching after being found with a rifle, ammunition, a vehicle and poaching equipment.

“These are the people that we entrusted with the welfare of these animals,” said a spokesman to Associated Press. “These are just elements that unfortunately have allowed themselves to be used by syndicates.”

According to SANParks Acting Chief Executive Officer, Abe Sibiya, the arrest came shortly after a rhino was found dead in the Lower Sabie section of the park.

“It is unfortunate that those trusted with the well-being of these animals are alleged to have become the destroyers of the same heritage that they have a mandate to protect,” said Sibiya.

“The SANParks and SAPS officials who effected the arrests are congratulated for their outstanding work. These arrests send a strong message that officials alleged to be involved in poaching will be arrested and face the full might of the law.”

Over eighty percent of wild white and black rhino live in Kruger park’s 20,000 square kilometres, making it one of the most frequented places by poachers.

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