Two rhino killed on separate KZN reserves

2015-03-09 00:00

TWO rhinos were killed and their horns removed on separate reserves this weekend, taking the total of rhinos poached in KwaZulu-Natal to 20 so far this year.

A female rhino was found dead, with both her horns removed, at Hython private game reserve, near Cramond, on Friday.

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said the rhino had been shot. An investigation by Cramond officers is ongoing.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said another rhino was found dead yesterday at Mkhuze Game Reserve in Zululand.

The white rhino had both its horns removed and was found in the Nxwala area of the reserve.

Mntambo said 24 rhino were poached in KwaZulu-Natal by the end of March last year.

“At the end of March last year, KwaZulu-Natal had lost 24 rhinos. It is not yet the end of March and we have lost 20,” he said, adding that “one rhino gone was already too many”.

Mntambo said Ezemvelo met weekly to discuss rhino poaching and was constantly looking at ways to increase security, such as aeroplane patrols and working with communities to raise awareness.

Wilderness Foundation director Andrew Muir said there had been a surge in poaching activity this year.

“It is tragic how our year has started off, not just in KZN, but nationwide.”

Muir said rhinos were being poached in increased numbers “everywhere” — he believed it was due to rhino poaching syndicates expanding their range.

“As we create more safe zones, we see these syndicates moving to areas they perceive as being weaker. It is the same poaching syndicates we have had for the last eight years, but they are spreading and widening in range and are no longer in a concentrated area, which makes it a lot more difficult for authorities to clamp down on.”

Muir said there were many strategies in place to arrest poachers.

He said communicating with local communities, global organisations and other governments was key to ending the slaughter.

He added that broadening range estates across the country and encouraging communities to come forward with the names of people who might be operating in the syndicates was also vital in the anti-poaching campaign.

“We all think it is impossible, but we can turn this around. We are the custodians of the rhino on behalf of the globe and we have the responsibility to protect them.”

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