Rhino mother and calf poisoned

2015-03-03 08:54

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Harare - Two black rhino, a mother and her calf, have been poisoned by poachers in south-eastern Zimbabwe, it emerged on Monday.

The pair, known as Amai (Mother in Zimbabwe's Shona language) and Tamba, her female calf, were discovered last Wednesday at a waterhole near Chipinge, 400km from Harare, sources said.

Their bodies were found before poachers had a chance to remove what was left of their horns. Both are understood to have been already dehorned to try to deter poachers.

The killings bring to four the number of rhinos reported poached last month in south-eastern Zimbabwe, following the shooting of a mother and her calf in the Save Valley Conservancy on 2 February.

The AWARE Trust, a veterinary conservation group, confirmed the latest killings in a post on Facebook but did not say where they had occurred.

Poisoned cabbages

"They were allegedly found dead two steps from the waterhole along with a dead warthog," the trust said.

More than 100 elephants were killed in Hwange National Park in 2013 when poachers put cyanide into watering holes and salt licks.

These are the first rhino waterhole poisonings reported since then. In 2010, poachers were accused of laying poisoned cabbages for rhinos to eat in Chiredzi, which is also in south-eastern Zimbabwe.

Poachers are increasingly targeting calves as well as adult rhinos to meet the demand for rhino horn, especially in Asia. The mother and her calf killed in the Save Valley Conservancy last week were both dehorned by the poachers.

There are only around 750 rhinos left in Zimbabwe, 450 of them black rhinos.

AWARE Trust said of the latest killings: "The loss of two females represents a devastating blow to the future reproductive capacity of this population."

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  poaching  |  southern africa  |  conservation  |  animals

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