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An 11-year-old boy was caught with snares, a panga, a slingshot and five dogs, presumably used for poaching small game, in the Heidel Valley near White River on Friday.


Mr Jaco Klopper of Mpumalanga Animal Crime Watch (MACW), along with members of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Association (MTPA) and J&M Security Services, was called to the scene after a farmer saw two boys of similar age emerging from the bush, equipped to set up snares in the area. One ran away when he saw the farmer.

“The boy who was caught said they were collecting firewood. However, he had a grain bag, a panga, five dogs which I presumed were hunting dogs, and a collection of snares which he carried around his neck,” said the farmer.

Among the five dogs were three puppies.

At 11 years old, the boy is the youngest alleged poacher Klopper has had to deal with. “I didn’t know what to do in this situation. I think the boy learned these techniques from his parents.”

Klopper added that MACW removed more than 40 snares in the Heidel Valley area in Rocky Drift earlier that week. They had discovered two dog skulls, a cane rat, seven porcupine carcasses and a red duiker carcass. MACW stated: “The number of snares we have removed, makes me believe that the meat does not just go toward feeding families. The bush meat trade is now a lucrative business.”

The farmer did not press charges due to the boy’s age, but members from the MTPA consulted his parents.

“His parents claimed not to know anything about the boy being in the bush,” said Mr Jabulani Manana of MTPA. “They warned him not to do anything like this again because he is still young.”

Klopper said he was disappointed that the boy got off scot-free, “I understand that the boy is very young, but we need to fight this sort of crime and this must be a warning to other youngsters not to partake in poaching.”


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