After a four-month operation, the owner of a traditional medicine store in Cape Town has been arrested after police confiscated various illegal fauna and flora.
The store owner is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court soon.
The Western Cape police spokesperson, Captain Frederick van Wyk said in order to address the illegal and ongoing stripping of bark from protected tree species in Table Mountain National Park, Environmental Crime Investigation (ECI) Cape Town identified a shop in Cape Town which purchased bark and other items from illegal suppliers for muti purposes.
“A clandestine operation involving Sanpark Environmental Crime Investigation (ECI) Cape Town, SAPS’s Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit from Kuilsrivier and Cape Nature Officials, was conducted on the identified shop on December 4, 2023.
“The integrated team pounced on the traditional medicine shop following a four-month-long sting operation which concluded with the arrest of the owner of the shop and the confiscation of various illegal fauna and flora products,” van Wyk said.
He said a criminal case docket was registered and the store owner was detained on charges of possession of wild animal carcasses without a permit and the possession of flora without a permit.
“The members confiscated 29 bags of tree bark, one elephant foot, several fox skins, and one otter skin. The value still needs to be determined and the investigation continues.
“Similar operations will be directed at other shops with the possibility of more arrests being made,” van Wyk said.
Once charged the man will appear in court on the mentioned charges.
Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile lauded the efforts of the integrated forces for their sterling investigation and bringing the store owner to book.
He also gave a word of appreciation to the investigating officer and his team from the SAPS Stock Theft and Endangered Species from Kuilsrivier for assistance to Sanparks Environmental Crime Investigation (ECI) members during this investigation.