September 13, 2015 / 4:53 PM / in 2 years

Zimbabwe court charges South Africans over attempt to export wildlife

HARARE (Reuters) - A Zimbabwean court has charged three South African men with illegally capturing 29 sable antelopes and attempting to export them without a permit, the local parks authority said on Sunday.

The three men had on Saturday appeared in a magistrates court in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe’s southern border town near South Africa, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo said .

The men, who were not asked to enter a plea, remain in police custody. They were charged with illegal capture and translocation of wildlife, and attempting to export the sables illegally, said Washaya-Moyo.

Zimbabwe last month charged two men with breaching hunting rules and allowing an American dentist to illegally kill the southern African country’s most famous lion, Cecil, outside Hwange wildlife park, which sparked a global outcry from animal lovers.

Charges of crossing an international boundary using an undesignated exit point were also levelled against the men.

A charge sheet seen by Reuters said the sables were taken from a private game park in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Sept. 11 and driven to an illegal crossing point on the Limpopo River in Beitbridge.

The crime was discovered when the trucks carrying the sables got stuck on the river, leading to the arrest of the men.

Washaya-Moyo said the animals, which are valued at $348,000, were being transported to a game farm in South Africa, but the receiving property had not been assessed to ensure that it was suitable for the sables.

Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe, editing by William Hardy

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