A local South African man has found himself in hot water over a 2015 hunting expedition.
Hanno van Rensburg escorted a man from Colorado on an elephant hunting tour and is now being charged with bribing a government official and the illegal importing of ivory.
Going After Ivory
Ivory is one of the most sought after illegal imports in the world.
For this reason, illegal “tours” are often conducted with a hefty price tag to net the bounty.
Van Rensberg was contracted by a Colorado client for the purpose of tracking down an elephant, then importing its ivory into the United States.
According to the indictment, van Rensburg, along with the hunter, bribed local officials with a $5,000 payment to lift hunting restrictions for his client.
The Hunting Grounds
Animals within the Gonarezhou National Park are protected by law.
The hunter allegedly shot the elephant outside of the national park but tracked it as it entered the park.
However, they were unable to find the wounded animal.
The indictment reads that the group then shot other elephants inside the park and took their ivory.
While they are allowed to track the animal shot outside of the park, they are not permitted to hunt other animals within the park that are already there.
Breaking the Law
In addition to the violations mentioned above, van Rensburg is also being charged for violating the Lacey Act.
This legislation stipulates it is illegal to sell or transport any wildlife that was killed violating other foreign laws.
Colorado U.S. Attorney Boy Troyer stated, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners work together to support global efforts to protect threatened and endangered wildlife from illegal poaching.”
While the U.S. hunter has not officially been named, there is speculation it may be Paul Ross Jackson, who reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in April on charges for having violated the Endangered Species Act.