Five people, who stole $13,164.53 (R117,000) worth of ostrich feathers, were arrested Monday morning in Oudtshoorn, in the Western Cape of South Africa.
The alleged defendants are scheduled to appear in the Oudtshoorn Magistrate Court Wednesday, Western Cape policed captain Malcolm Pojie told Times Live. The state will oppose any bail applications by the five.
The group, ranging in ages from 20 to 28, has been linked to five other cases of ostrich feather theft since December 2012. They plucked feathers from 70 birds in the last month at the Western Cape governmental research farm in Oudtshoorn, and four birds died in the process.
Pojie said the ostrich industry has suffered “substantially” as a result of the rise of poacher feather plucking.
“We therefore hope the arrests are a deterrent to potential poachers,” he told Times Live.