Pregnant rhino cow brutally killed

2013-09-18 12:10
A pregnant rhino cow has been brutally killed. (Askari Game Lodge & Spa)

A pregnant rhino cow has been brutally killed. (Askari Game Lodge & Spa)

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Cape Town - A pregnant rhino cow was poached in the Magaliesberg on Monday.

The cow was shot with a heavy calibre rifle and her horn was brutally hacked off.

"Last seen with her 2 ½ year old calf in the morning, she was shot with a heavy calibre rifle and butchered with a panga for her horns all while she was still alive," said a statement from the Askari Game Lodge & Spa.

Anti-poaching units, police and reserve staff searched for the young rhino for hours.

Tragically, the 28-year-old rhino cow was due to give birth to what would have been her fourth calf within months, an autopsy confirmed.

Rhino poaching

Criminal networks


According to the department of environmental affairs (DEA), 618 rhino have been poached in SA so far this year. This is on course to nearly double the 668 total of 2012, which was also significantly higher than the 448 poached in 2011.

According to Cites (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), poachers are heavily armed in their determination to kill rhino.

"AK47 assault rifles and 303 calibre rifles have been the most commonly used weapons but, recently, heavier calibre arms (eg .375s and .458s) are now being used," Cites said.

While rhino poaching has captured the public's imagination, the trade chain extends to sophisticated criminal networks that supply a growing demand for rhino horn, particularly from Vietnam.

Environmental organisations have called for more arrests of kingpins to stem the tide of poaching that could see rhino in SA go extinct by 2026.

"I absolutely agree Asia is the root of the problem - obviously in South Africa we must do as much as we can to protect the rhino, but that's not going to solve the problem. I think that's a key point," Dr Jo Shaw, Rhino Co-ordinator for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) told News24.


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