Investigators believe several rhino carcasses were disposed of on a farm near Musina.
South African media has reported that Groenewald was purchasing close to a hundred rhinos per year. However, investigators say he was not able to account for many of the animals.
Rhino crime syndicate members out on bail
On Wednesday, September 22, Groenewald was one of eleven suspected members of a rhino crime syndicate granted bail by the Musina court’s magistrate Errol Luiters.
The decision has led to global outrage, especially since the decision was made on World Rhino Day.
Veterinarians and professional hunters are among the accused syndicate members:
- Dawie Groenewald – Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris in Polokwane
- Sariette Groenewald – Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris in Polokwane
- Tielman Erasmus – professional hunter
- Dr. Karel Toet – Nylstroom animal clinic and Limpopo Wildlife
- Marisa Toet – Nylstroom animal clinic and Limpopo Wildlife
- Dr. Manie du Plessis – Nylstroom animal clinic
- Marthinus Pronk
- Dewald Gouws
- Leon van der Merwe
- Paul Matomela
- Nordus Rossouw
The accused are facing hundreds of charges, including assault, fraud, corruption, malicious damage to property, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and contravening the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act.
The suspected rhino crime syndicate members are schedule to appear in court again on April 11th, 2011.
Lucrative Asian market for illegal rhino horn
Rhino poaching has returned to South Africa with a vengeance. The scourge has reached a 16-year high, with more than 600 rhinos killed since 2005.
Although rhino horn has been proven to have no medicinal properties, it is still in high demand in China and Vietnam.
The wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC found that most rhino horn leaving southern Africa is destined for China and Vietnam.