The killing of two cheetahs that had been introduced in the uMkhuze Game Reserve as part of a breeding programme has landed a man in jail.
Bhekuyise Ndlovu and Mkhumbuzeni Phasela Mathenjwa have been sentenced to five years and a R4000 fine respectively for illegal hunting of two cheetahs in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park last year.
The cats were skinned and their pelts handed to the homestead of a local traditional leader.
Cheetahs are an endangered species with only 900 living in the wild in South Africa.
Advocate Waldo Smit told the court that the two cheetahs were introduced to start a breeding programme with the only female in the reserve.
There are now only two cheetahs left in the park.
Ndlovu, who was the main hunter and had pleaded guilty, was sentenced to five years imprisonment, while his co-accused, who assisted him in carrying the carcasses of the animals, was sentenced to pay a fine of R4000 or face 12 months imprisonment.
The director of public prosecutions in the KZN, advocate Moipone Noko, welcomed the sentence.
“This sentence should serve as a deterrent to like-minded people,” Noko said.