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A South African court sentenced rhino poacher Mandla Chauke to 77 years in prison yesterday.
It was one of the heaviest penalties ever for poachers who target rhinos for their horns, which fetch a high price on the illegal market in parts of Asia.
South Africa’s national parks service said that the penalty paid by Mr Chauke, who was arrested in Kruger National Park in 2011, shows the courts are starting to realise the negative effects of poaching on wildlife and an economy dependent on tourism.
“We hope that this will be a deterrent” to other poachers, said parks spokesman Reynold Thakhuli.
Mr Chauke and two accomplices shot three rhinos and got into a firefight with patrolling rangers in which one suspect died.
He was convicted of murder, illegal hunting of rhinos, rhino horn theft and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
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