Rhino Horn Stockpiles & Thefts

Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:56 pm

Limpopo: 66 rhino horns worth R25m stolen

2013-04-06 14:23

Johannesburg - Thieves have made off with 66 rhino horns worth some R25m in one of the biggest horn heists the country has seen, after breaking into the safe of a game farm owner.

The horns had been removed from rhino at the Leshoka Thabang Game Reserve in northern Limpopo to protect the animals from poachers who supply them illegally to international crime syndicates.

Demand has also been growing for rhino horn in Vietnam, where a newly affluent class has been buying it to treat ailments ranging from hangovers to cancer. The treatments have no basis in science but demand has pushed the price up to $65 000 a kilogram, making it more expensive than gold.

'Knew what they were doing'

Thieves stole the horns, two hunting rifles and four laptops in the robbery.

"The guys knew what they were doing. It was perfectly planned," owner Johan van Zyl told Beeld.

"In my hands it is worth nothing, but in the hands of the guys who have it now, the horns are worth a lot of money," he told Reuters.

He said about 42kg of horn had been stolen, which, according to prices of Vietnamese traditional medicine deals, would sell for about $2.75m (R25m) on the streets of Hanoi.

Van Zyl said he had permits for horn removal and storage. The government allows for private storage of horns, which must be registered, while forbidding almost all sales.

The thieves broke into a business office on Wednesday evening and appeared to have used a blowtorch to open a safe where the horns were kept, police and the game farm owner said.

"At this stage, we haven't arrested anybody yet, but we are still investigating," Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto said.

She told Beeld that departmental nature conservationists were supposed to put microchips in the horns in accordance with the law before locking them up in a place of safety.


South Africa is home to the vast majority of rhino on the continent, with numbers estimated at about 21 000.

Last year, more than 660 rhino in South Africa were killed by poachers - a record high - and more than 800 rhino could be killed this year if poaching continues at its current rate.

Several game reserve owners have dehorned rhinos to make them less likely to be killed by poachers, while the army has been deployed to protect the animals in national parks.

Rhino horn has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine, where it was ground into powder to treat a range of maladies including rheumatism, gout and even possession by devils.

- Reuters

Re: 66 rhino horns worth R25m stolen

Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:34 pm

This is fishy...dunno how 66 horns add up to 42kg...

Probably missing a zero on that figure.

And piling up 66 horns is impossible, so maybe 6 horns?

Still strange! :-?

Re: 66 rhino horns worth R25m stolen

Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:43 pm

Eish.....sounds fishy but nevertheless.....

0*\ 0*\ 0*\

Rhino horns stolen from MTPA

Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:43 pm

Rhino horns stolen from MTPA

Thieves made off with millions of rands worth of rhino horn on Sunday night.

Nicolene Smalman | 21 April 2014 11:48

NELSPRUIT – Rhino horns were stolen out of safes of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) on Sunday night.The theft was only discovered early yesterday morning. According to an informed source, nearly 40 horns were taken. Although the theft was confirmed by MTPA officials, they could not confirm the exact amount of horns stolen.“The culprit(s) cut open two steel safes fitted with double locks,” a high ranking MTPA official told Lowvelder.Ms Kholofelo Nkambule, spokesman for the MTPA didn’t answer her cellphone today. Brig Selvy Mohlala, provincial police spokesman, confirmed that a case of break-in was being investigated. He referred all further inquiries to Capt Paul Ramaloko, spokesman for the Hawks. His cellphone is off.

Re: Rhino horns stolen from MTPA

Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:59 pm

This is why the legalised trade will never work!!

Those in control have NO control!!

Re: Rhino horns stolen from MTPA

Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:43 pm

0- 0- 0-
what is a safe 0*\

corruption... corruption... 0=

Re: Rhino horns stolen from MTPA

Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:08 pm

This requires a lot more info!

Were the premises broken into? Is there an alarm system in place? As today is a holiday, who reported it?

It is normal for enforcement officials to put off their work phones over weekends and holidays... :-)


Re: Rhino horns stolen from MTPA

Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:37 pm

NELSPRUIT – The CEO of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA), Mr Jacques Modipane, reacted on the theft of rhino horns that were in the safekeeping of the MTPA.

No less than 112 pieces of rhino horns with a total weight of 80,135kg were stolen.

Security personnel on site discovered the theft at around 05:30 on Monday morning.

The stolen pieces were mainly from dehorning operations that were conducted. They were kept in the MTPA storage for registration purposes, record keeping and to later move them to another secure location where a bulk of stock is kept.

Some of the pieces kept on the MTPA premises were micro chipped, DNA sampled and photographed according to the National Norms and Standards (dated 10 April 2012 No 53248), while others were still being processed.

A case of burglary and theft has been opened with the police and a full investigation is under way.

The thieves entered the site through an office window. A strong room was cut open in the office, the door broken and access was gained to the main strong room where the pieces were kept.

According to Modipane the MTPA perimeter is well secured with controlled access and 24 hour security personnel is on guard with regular patrol intervals of the premises.

He said that they are working closely with SAPS to ensure that arrests are made and will continue to look at all possible leads both internally and externally to ensure that the criminals are apprehended.

“As MTPA we take this matter seriously and want to indicate that we will leave no stone unturned until this matter is resolved,” he concluded.

http://lowvelder.co.za/188052/ceo-react ... orn-theft/

Re: Rhino horns stolen from MTPA

Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:44 pm

In the article of today, an "informed source" stated that "although he did not want to elaborate whether MTPA employees might have been involved, he was of the opinion that whoever was responsible, must have had inside information about the safes and security measures in place at the agency."

Re: Rhino horns stolen from MTPA

Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:51 pm

As I said earlier...

Sprocky wrote:This is why the legalised trade will never work!!

Those in control have NO control!!