Ezemvelo: Prize rhino bull not shot … yet

2012-01-05 00:00

THE white rhino bull due to be shot at the Makhasa Community Reserve near Mkhuze by a hunter who paid R960 000 for the right to kill it, has not been shot yet, said Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Responding to rumours that the rhino had been killed yesterday morning, Ezemvelo’s Bheki Khoza said the organisation was unaware of it.

The name of the KZN businessman who successfully tendered for the right to shoot the rhino has not been revealed.

It has been speculated that the rights were bought by a local hunting outfit on behalf of an overseas client, who is prepared to pay more than the value of the live rhino said to be around R220 000.

Simon Bloch of Outraged SA Citizens Against Poaching said he felt “sick” when he heard a rumour that the animal had been killed yesterday morning, but he did not know whether it was true.

However, he took issue with Ezemvelo’s continued defence of the hunt and expressed disappointment that EKZNW CEO Bandile Mkhize had chosen to “play the race card” in a bid to justify the killing of the rhino.

Mkhize accused animal rights activists of being silent when 23 rhino hunting permits were issued to private game reserves last year, while protesting when the “impoverished black community” from the Makhasa Community Reserve was due to benefit from the white rhino permit.

Bloch said the allegation was “not factual”.

He said his organisation had addressed numerous letters to the KZN CITES permit offices objecting to rhino hunts and also sent letters to EKZNW raising concerns about security and rhino poaching incidents in its reserves, but had never received any response.

Bloch said the organisation had sent a letter to Ezemvelo offering R751 000 (R1 000 more than the minimum bid to shoot the rhino), but the tender was ignored and no response was received.

Had the tender been accepted the rhino in question “would be alive and safe and could have become a tourist attraction”.

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