Heavily-pregnant rhino poached in Eastern Cape

2015-03-05 14:33
A forensic investigator retrieves evidence at a rhino poaching incident in the Great Karoo. (Simon Bloch, News24)

A forensic investigator retrieves evidence at a rhino poaching incident in the Great Karoo. (Simon Bloch, News24)

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Cape Town - The Wilderness Foundation and a group of Eastern Cape farmers have offered a reward of R150 000 for any information leading to the arrest of poachers who killed two rhino at a Great Karoo game lodge this week.

It was the third fatal poaching incident at the luxury Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve, near Graaf Reinet, since May last year.

The gruesome discovery of a 2-year-old sub-adult bull and his heavily pregnant 14-year-old mother was made by the property's anti-poaching team in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The carcasses were found lying close to each other, and the horns had been brutally hacked from both animals.

Unborn calf

Lodge owner Iain Buchanan said while only two animals were killed by the poachers, they were mourning the added loss of an unborn calf.

While performing the autopsy, world-renowned veterinary specialist, Dr Will Fowlds, discovered the cow had been heavily pregnant, almost at full-term. 

He then proceeded to deliver the unborn, dead calf.

Fowlds remarked that this was the first time that he had seen an almost full term calf only two weeks away from being born.


Mount Camdeboo lodge owner Ian Buchanan with the poached rhino and her dead unborn calf. (Simon Bloch, News24)

Green Scorpions investigating

Members of the Hawks were flown to the scene in a helicopter organised by the Wilderness Foundation, followed shortly thereafter by the arrival of the Eastern Cape Nature Conservation Special Investigative Unit, known as the Green Scorpions, whose function is to assist in the crime scene investigation and evidence gathering.

“Despite the fact that security measures had been increased at the property, we now know that these criminals are highly organised, well-funded and strategic in their planning of each poaching incident” Buchanan said.

In November, a female rhino named “Split Horn” was killed for her horns at the lodge.

No arrests have yet been made.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  rhino poaching  |  poaching  |  crime

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