A regional warden of Balule Nature Reserve, 36-year-old Frikkie Kotze, was found guilty of unlawfully hunting an elephant on Monday at the Lenyenye Regional Court after a collared male elephant named George was shot in August, reports Letaba Herald.
It is reported that the hunt was conducted illegally and Balule management laid criminal charges against the culprit as soon as the incident was reported.
Kotze pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined R50,000 or five years imprisonment, with both options suspended for five years.
He is also due to pay R35,000 to Elephants Alive, the research organisation who were tracking the elephant as part of ongoing research, in order to replace the elephant collar.
Where the hunt fell into illegality was that the elephant was shot in the Mpumalanga province but the hunting permit was issued by Limpopo authorities (LEDET). Balule Nature Reserve straddles across both provinces.
It is reported that the elephant was covered in mud at the time of the hunt and the warden and professional hunter (JJ Horn) claimed not to have seen the collar.