Aquila rhino dies after poaching attack

Cape Town - A rhino which was dehorned by poachers at Aquila Private Game Reserve in Worcester last weekend has died.

The rhino, known as ABSA, had been fighting for his life after he was darted and his horn was removed with a chainsaw.

"This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do .... I have just had confirmation from the vets in the field.... ABSA did not make it through the night.... he passed away early this morning... Rest in peace now my friend," read a post on the reserve's Facebook page on Thursday morning.

Another male rhino was killed in the attack on the private game reserve early on Saturday, and a female was darted twice, but was not dehorned. It is believed an anti-poaching patrol had scared off the poachers.

Blood loss

Aquila Private Game Reserve spokesperson Mandi Jarman said in a media release earlier this week that two groups of rhino poachers attacked three rhinos on the reserve. Anti-poaching teams had deterred two previous poaching attempts.

The reserve believes that the poachers were disturbed as only half of ABSA's second horn was sawn off before they retreated. The rhino lost a lot of blood and was found lying in a position which could have caused massive muscle and organ damage, she said.

ABSA was the first rhino reintroduced to Aquila and to the Western Cape in over 250 years after being shot out by hunters. ABSA fathered the first two rhino calves born in the Western Cape in this time. The surviving rhino was one of the two fathered by him.

Aquila is offering a R100 000 reward for information leading to an arrest and prosecution of these poachers.

- Aquilarhino on Twitter
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