Rhino calf found with dead mom
Marietie Louw-Carstens and Elise Tempelhoff, Beeld
Johannesburg - A rhino cow was on Wednesday night shot dead presumably with an R5 assault rifle near Roedtan in Limpopo. Her hamstrings and horns were chopped off with an axe.
Earlier in the day, a rhino bull was shot dead with an AK47 assault rifle in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi nature reserve in KwaZulu-Natal and his horns were sawn off.
This brought the amount of rhino that had been killed by poachers since the beginning of last year to 300. This year, 178 rhinos have already been killed countrywide.
These numbers included the poached rhino and the calves that died after the mothers were killed.
Captain Herman Lubbe of the Modimolle (Nylstroom) police's cattle theft unit said the cow that had been poached in Roedtan, was 40 years old and her horn was 93cm long.
According to Riaan de Jager from the Limpopo department of environmental affairs, the rhino had been shot several times.
The owner of the farm did not want to make his name known as he feared more poaching.
Faan Coetzee, head of the Rhino Security Project at the Endangered Wildlife Trust said the bull that was poached in KwaZulu-Natal was killed with one shot to the head.
It looked like it could be the work of a professional hunter. "The animal's horns were sawn off with precision. It means the horns were sawn off right at the nose," said Coetzee.
Rangers in the Kruger National Park also found the carcass of a badly decomposed rhino cow. Her calf of about two years old was apparently still with the carcass. The cow was presumably poached about two weeks ago.
André Snyman, the founder of eBlockwatch, said on Thursday he was on the verge of starting a database of rhino poaching on the website. Members of eBlockwatch in the Roedtan area helped nature conservation officials and police on Thursday with the tracking of poachers.
Soldiers deployed in Kruger Park
Coetzee said he had learnt that the national unit against poaching, which Water Affairs and Conservation Minister Buyelwa Sonjica was starting, would soon begin operations.
The defence force announced on Wednesday that 150 soldiers would be deployed from April 1 in the Kruger National Park to help fight rhino poaching.
Game farmers and auctioneers who attended the Soutpansberg game auction in Alldays on Friday believed that rhino poaching was the reason why not one of the 16 white rhino in the safety catalogue were sold. The two black rhino were also not auctioned off.
- Anyone with information about the Roedtan case could call Lubbe on 084 515 6925.