Rhino killed by poachers in southern Zimbabwe

2015-05-07 21:16
Black rhino and calf. (WWF)

Black rhino and calf. (WWF)

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Harare - A rhino was on Thursday reportedly poached in the rock-studded Matopos National Park in southern Zimbabwe.

The 7-year old white male rhino was killed Sunday night in the northern area of the park, which lies 40km from Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo.

"There was a poaching incident in the park where one male while rhino was shot. The poachers made a getaway but for now investigations are continuing," an informed source in Bulawayo told News24.

The killing has not yet been confirmed by the state-run Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

The source, who could not be named, said: "There's no lapse on the part of National Parks, in my opinion. I'm quite sure National Parks will be reacting in an appropriate way to contain the situation and make sure this is going to be the only one for the year."

"They're doing their best on a micro-budget and in the face of extreme difficulties," he added.

The Matopos National Park is home to black and white rhino, both endangered species. In a major victory for conservationists working there, no rhinos were poached from the park in 2014.

A 52km-long fence was recently erected in the Whovi Intensive Protection Zone section of the park to try to prevent the rhinos getting out and cattle straying in. It was completed in January.

Poachers have in the past possibly entered the park pretending to be cattle herders fetching straying beasts.

The dead rhino appears to have been poached near to the main road linking the park to Bulawayo.

A safari group operating in the Matopos posted a picture of the rhino, describing him as "so friendly" and identifying him by his ear tag number.

"Goodbye my friend. This young rhino, 161 was poached last night [Sunday night]. Only 7 years old and so friendly. We will never forget you," the group said in a Facebook post which has been widely shared.

Five rhino have been killed by poachers so far in Zimbabwe this year, three of them from the Save Valley Conservancy in the south-east of the country. Zimbabwe has less than 500 black rhino left and around 300 white rhino.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  rhino poaching

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