Only yesterday, the World Wildlife Fund made it public news that a man guilty of having illegally traded rhino horns taken from animals in South Africa was sentenced to 40 years in prison by Johannesburg’s Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court.
Apparently, the man was left with no choice but to plead guilty to all of the charges filed against him, after several police officers brought forth strong evidence of his being involved in trafficking animal parts.
The man is a Thai National named Chumlong Lemtongthai, and the World Wildlife Fund explains that, together with other traffickers, he has managed to smuggle rhino horns from South Africa into Asian black markets.
During trial, Chumlong Lemtonghai somehow came to realize that his actions were wrong, and even showed signs of repentance.
“I humbly apologise to the court and to the people of South Africa for my role in this matter. I appreciate that the emotions of all animal lovers in South Africa are running very high and that I was part of the problem,” he said.
As was to be expected, conservationists were more than happy to hear that this man was sentenced to spend 40 years behind bars.
Some of them even hope that this will serve as an example for other poachers and wildlife traffickers, and that significant progress will thus be made in terms of protecting this endangered species.
“It is so important that all those involved in rhino crimes receive sentences which match the severity of their actions to form an effective deterrent to others,” explains Dr Jo Shaw, presently working as rhino co-ordinator for the World Wildlife Fund in South Africa.
Furthermore, “These higher-level arrests and convictions are critical to disrupting the illegal trade chains used to move rhino horns into illicit markets in Asia.”