Rhino dump found on govt park

2010-11-18 23:04

Nelspruit - Limpopo officials have discovered a rhino cemetery containing 17 rhino carcasses at the Letaba Ranch, on the western border of the Kruger National Park.

"We're devastated," Joshua Kwapa, spokesperson for Limpopo's department of economic affairs, development and tourism, said on Thursday.

According to him it seems the animals have been poached in this provincial reserve since last year.

"It could also have been earlier, perhaps even since three yeas ago. All the animals' horns have been removed.

"It's gruesome. We're shocked. We've launched a high-level investigation. The guilty parties must pay."

Kwapa insisted the gruesome find happened recently.

The border fences between the Letaba Ranch and the Kruger Park were removed several years ago, and game moved back and forth freely.

The management of the Letaba Ranch has come under severe fire over the past few years because the ranch appears to have collapsed.

An expert in environmental management, who prefers not to be named, wanted to know on Thursday how it's possible that carcasses could lie in the reserve for two years without the provincial department knowing about it.

"Heads must roll."


Beeld has learned that investigators visited the area on Wednesday to determine how the animals had been poached. Apparently some of the horns were hacked off while others were cut off "neatly".

Kwapa says the carcasses were found when a "service provider" was doing a survey of the game on Letaba Ranch. He was flying over the reserve in a helicopter when he saw the carcasses.

According to Kwapa, everything possible will be done to track down the guilty parties. He said members of the national task team appointed to investigate rhino poaching, will also be involved.

Meanwhile, game rangers this week caught three suspected poachers near Pretoriuskop as they were on their way out of the game park.

The three men had four rhino horns with them. A shootout reportedly broke out between the men and the rangers.

Beeld has heard that one man was wounded in the shooting. He is in hospital in a critical condition.

A police official close to the investigation said game rangers seized a .303 rifle. It was fitted with a homemade silencer - a piece of water pipe welded onto the barrel of the rifle.

Game rangers were searching for more carcasses on Thursday.

Three rhino carcasses were found in the Loskopdam area at the weekend, two more at a reserve in the Hartbeesfontein area in the North West, and a sixth near Mookgophong (Naboomspruit).

So far 268 rhinos have been poached this year.

  • Samkelisiwe - 2010-11-18 23:48

    Wow,this is very interesting.

      Ingwe - 2010-11-19 06:58

      This is not interesting, it is disgraceful

      Barry - 2010-11-19 08:10

      It's interesting to dumd ass people like you. One day our children won't know whot a rino is

      Kent - 2010-11-19 08:59

      not sure if you are educated enough to understand the article. ...No , you are not - please spare us with your comments.

      Rosalind - 2010-11-19 09:11

      what the hell are you doing up at that time of the morning?

      Delarey - 2010-11-19 09:25

      Wow, this is interesting!!! What kind of a moron are you!? Interesting is how the rhino families interact and survive in the wild. Are you to stupid to grasp what is going on? Let me give you a quick English lesson, abhorrent, barbaric, disgusting, savage, repulsive, uncivilized... are far better words to discribe what is happend. Stupid fool!

      ian.teall - 2010-11-19 09:26

      Typical, you find this interesting and farm murders boring.....this mentality explains why I am writing this from my new house in the UK.

      wesleywt - 2010-11-19 09:37

      In news from the UK. Robber torture pensioner with a hot iron to reveal were he hid his money. Goodluck in England :)

      MarazAmc - 2010-11-19 10:13

      OK THIS IS RIDICULOUS! Are we really gonna stand here and direct our anger at a lady who misused a word! @Ingwe - you replied perfectly. @Barry and Kent - where do you get the right to call her a "dumb ass"?! I she the poacher?! @Delarey - if I was to crucify a Afrikaans guy for misusing an English word you would probably be all over me right now calling me racist. What the hell is up with some South Africans on the internet? Do we have absolutely no respect for other citizens?! @Wesley, you're my hero! @Ian - I hope all works out for you there. And I'm not being sarcastic. Those of us left here will keep working harder to build a country where unity flourishes, farm murders vanish and IRON-TORTURES NEVER HAPPEN. I love Mzansi and ALL it's people!

      Peter - 2010-11-19 10:28

      @Barry.The way you write,you shouldn't be worrying about children,you shouldn't be breeding.....

      jacowium - 2010-11-20 21:01

      Very well said MarazAmc, thank you.

  • veld66 - 2010-11-19 00:27

    This is completely heartbreaking.......It just feels sad! i cant even offer my opinion on this sad tell!

  • craigpearsondc - 2010-11-19 01:17

    I spoke to some Kenyans earlier this year about this poaching. They said they solved their problem simply by shooting the poachers onsite, no trial required, no matter who it was. Seems simple enough. For them nature tourism is a major part of their economy that sustains communities. Without the animals the communities and the country suffers, so it is seen as a form of self-defence. National security? Why do we not do the same?

      Johan - 2010-11-19 03:40

      I agree. Shoot on site.

      Masters - 2010-11-19 04:59

      Good morning, I agree with you 100%, why spend all that money on lengthily trials only for the guilty to get some jail sentence that we the tax payer must again fund. Show them the same respect they have shown the animal they have killed – shoot them on the spot, or even better use them for human experiments, painful ones.

      Wernerkwane - 2010-11-19 06:23

      The only way our government will allow us to shoot the poachers is if one of them is awarded the tender to supply the ani-poaching unit with bullets! HA HA HA (The price of the bullets will be heavily inflated though, but I think it will be worth it)

      Mr D - 2010-11-19 07:26

      No no no don't shoot the basterd tie him down to a tree with bloudraad and let the lions eat him...Cement his foot in a 20lt drum and let the wild dogs sort him out...O I will have fun with them...

      Badger - 2010-11-19 07:34

      Do The Same? cause their are some guvernmunt people involved, thats why!!!!

      Delarey - 2010-11-19 09:26

      tourist, wild animals, each other, hell we shoot them all in this country!

      Stardust_2_2 - 2010-11-19 09:50

      Yup, shoot the barstards on sight!!!

      MarazAmc - 2010-11-19 10:19

      @Delarey - you're actually starting to get on my nerves. Here are South Africans trying to find a solution that will be effective and still save their country money and here you come with that off-topic negativity! You already posted this negativity on an article that WAS about a tourist shooting. If you hate this country as much as you display, WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE! And let us stay behind and continue trying to fix it! @CRAIG, I agree fully.

      Ingel - 2010-11-26 11:39

      I agree. Shoot them.

  • Natalia - 2010-11-19 03:51

    This is very sad... Why to kill these animals?

      watsegjy - 2010-11-19 04:43

      So some Japanese guy with a small willy can rub some Rhino Horn on his little manhood and think it will grow.

      Dnt8 - 2010-11-19 11:36

      Natalia people in the far east believe the rhino horn as magical powers.....

      IanJ - 2010-11-19 16:51

      Because 'The East' pays top dollar for aphrodisiac rhino horn. Joke really.

  • Kathleen - 2010-11-19 05:06

    They also need to figure out who are buying the horns. If there is a demand for these poor animals body parts, the poaching won't stop.

      robertgunning - 2010-11-19 06:55

      The biggest market is the chinese hillbilly.

      Ockert - 2010-11-19 07:31

      Are you seriously that dof ??

      Dnt8 - 2010-11-19 11:33


  • Kevin Rack - 2010-11-19 05:09

    Disgracefull. More things to feel ashamed about. Who owns the farm? The farm went bankrupt so the owner or leaseholder made some quick money. This is our childrens heritage going down the drain.

      Louise - 2010-11-19 07:33

      ...totally agree - I'm sick and tired of continually feeling ashamed to be African - this continent is f....d up : poaching, xenophobia, rape, murder, theft, bribery and corruption and so on and so on .... no hope

      MarazAmc - 2010-11-19 10:21

      @Louise - catch a wake up! There is rape, murder and poaching in every continent. It's worse here because WE HAVE RHINOS. AUSTRALIA DOES NOT! And if YOU are ashamed to be African, you probably don't deserve to be!

  • consultfanie - 2010-11-19 05:10

    Murder farmers, killing rhinos, hijacking British tourists and South African citizens, corruption ..........Same story, same government, just a new day. Today we will hear again about another rhino killed, another murder, another rape, another corrupt official..................................

  • trevor - 2010-11-19 05:45

    There's lots of emotion around rhinos being poached for their horns. Suppose east Asians wanted cow horn rather than rhino horn, how would we react? Would we pen up all of our cows in a massive laager and shoot poachers on sight? No, we would start more cow farms and breed enough cows to meet the demand for their horns, and at the same time create employment for our people. If there were more demand for cows' horns than cows' meat them many cows would run around with sawn-off horns, and live. But because it's rhinos, we react irrationally and start talking about shooting alleged poachers on sight, as if rhinos' lives were more important than humans' lives. Sending in our army won't solve the problem, there's more than enough money in rhino poaching to pay off the army. There are 2.5 billion east Asians, 48 million South Africans. This is a battle that we and the rhinos will surely lose if we choose to fight it. Let's get real and start rhino farms and breed enough rhinos to meet the demand for their horns. We can tranquilize rhinos when we remove their horns, they won't have to die. That way our grandchildren will still be able to see rhinos in the flesh, not just videos of past rhinos.

      lenyora - 2010-11-19 06:42

      ... yeah maybe we should start producing Genetically Modified Rhinos that breed at alarming rates - that way we can have massive supply of these rhinos and their horns and they will become a commodity like oil and gold.

      lessingh - 2010-11-19 06:49

      Uhm trevor, start breeding then, then in 5 years time, and you not managing to bring 1 new calf into life, you come back here and admit that you had no idea what you were talking about. It's quite clear that you have no idea of the challenges with regards to breeding with rhinos or any idea about a rhino's lifecycle. Or any idea about their social behaviour.... as a matter of fact, you are the irrational one making comments about something you know nothing off... Good luck with the rest of your life as I am quite sure you have millions of "stunning" ideas like this and never understand why other people can't see the world as clearly as you, got to be hard to be the only Einstein left in the world.....

      Worldwise - 2010-11-19 08:51

      Oh! Clever Trevor! Do you have even an inkling of how difficult it is to breed rhinos? Why do you think it has taken decades to bring them back from the brink of extinction? Because they breed like rabbits? Before commenting on something you obviously know nothing about and arrive at a simplistic solution, do some research. That way you will avoid the same trap the ANCYL keeps falling into, namely putting both feet into your mouth. Hint; - Engage brain before opening mouth.

      pointblankza - 2010-11-19 08:51

      @lessingh, instead of simply attacking trevor why not share this wisdom you have of the rhino life cycle and educate us about it? You seem to know so much but choose to rather attack someone who may be ignorant of the issues. You no better then the person you scold.

      niccih - 2010-11-19 09:10

      Personally I think we should all take a deep breath! Trevor has a point of logical thinking however I don't think it is very practical. But killing on site isn't such a good idea either. Ask the question... WHO WOULD YOU GIVE A GUN AND ENTRUST HIM TO SHOOT THE RIGHT PERSON? ... What if this person shoots a tourist taking pictures in the bush? Oops sorry I thought it was a poacher! What then! I too am very emotional about the situation and would love to open gorilla warefare on these @#$% who's killing our heritage. Instead of playing the "armchair" critic we should all get involved in the daily running of this country. We forget that WE control the government! The focus should be to get our country's legal system in order. We should solve the cause and not the symptom. These $%^& do what they do on a daily basis because they get away with it. Just remember... TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT!!

      Lee-Ann - 2010-11-19 09:22

      @pointblankza & trevor Its called google...educate yourself before taking part in a conversation that you don't have a clue about, you are wasting everyone's time and space, in fact I'm wasting my own time even commenting on something this stupid...bye

      HAYNE, Mark - 2010-11-19 09:35

      Ditto pointblankza- maybe rhino farms as suggested by Trevor aren’t the answer but what we are doing certainly isn’t working so surely we should be looking at other options? The harvesting (without killing) and legal trade in horn seems a viable option to me?

      Stardust_2_2 - 2010-11-19 09:52

      you are a dumbass!!!

      hemant230778 - 2010-11-19 10:18

      Well maybe, if it wasn't for the "Breeding" Cows and Bulls being killed off. These poaching attacks are taking place in "Breeding Farms". To top matters off when a Cow is killed of the Calf is usually killed to silence it or dies from starvation, putting 10 years of work down the toilet.

      MarazAmc - 2010-11-19 10:25

      @PointBlank and @Nicci - I really hope you guys are South Africans. We need a lot more level heads like yourselves. THANK YOU!

      lessingh - 2010-11-19 11:51

      @Pointblankza, Sorry for coming across a little strong in my first post, but I still feel that it was called for, as you give the answer yourself, "someone who may be ignorant of the issues". That is exactly my my point. if you are ignorant, do research before commenting on a public forum, if you dont, take the risk of being attacked for the ignorance, and no, its not my job to educate people on a news24 site,nor is this the forum for educating people, If you can access news 24, i am sure you can access google. As a matter of fact, trevors ignorance actually made me wonder for a while whether he was trolling... PS. Perhaps trevor should not have commented in such a way to belittle peoples emotions about this issue... Because the whole underlying tone of his post was how irrational people are reacting, and how he's got all the answers. Funny you chose to attack me, for attacking the ignorant, while the ignorant was attacking a vast majority of the population who are upset about rhino killings. Still think he might actually have been trolling...

  • Wernerkwane - 2010-11-19 06:18

    Dawie Groenewald is probably behind most of these killings, and he is not going to spend a minute in Jail! He has made so much money that he will simply bribe his way out, just like Shabir Shaik!

      Mr D - 2010-11-19 07:22

      Well he needs to be take out like that other one who's brother was a rugby player

  • markwmilligan - 2010-11-19 06:22

    This is so sad. I hope they catch the bastards that did this.

  • Coyote - 2010-11-19 06:46

    Shoot to kill - the poachers that is.. why should our taxes be paying for their hospital stays & court cases...

  • foitapoilet - 2010-11-19 06:57

    Poaching in the bush is a skill that these criminals are getting better at with practice. The government as a serious and competent lack of expertise and resources in countering this problem. It will not go away unless they make an example of the culprits with maximum penalties. This is not happening as the corruption is right through from the Parks officials all the way to the Customs officials allowing the horns to leave the country. The supply and demand is run by the organised wealthy buyer who hides overseas. To add crime in South Africa is out of control with regards to policing and trying to bring down the murders and rapes. The courts are already backlogged with thousands of cases. As a solution to curbing this out of control menace, there are the South African Special Forces, who once had the respect and admiration for having and being the best 'small teams' capability of deploying deep in the bush for several weeks without support. The skills of tracking and counter tracking was mastered with operational deployments. The government should start deploying these reconnaissance teams in the parks once again. They will not even be noticed, even the "insiders/informants" ,they will give the poachers the unexpected discomfort of running into these deadly teams. If the poacheres are armed, rules of engagement will be justified when they try it on with the best of the best. Just One incident will spread the word that there is something very dangerous waiting for them.

      Zara - 2010-11-19 08:11

      A very good point. I have to wonder if those "special forces" still exist though?

      pointblankza - 2010-11-19 08:52

      @Zara, we still here, waiting, watching.. ;)

      Worldwise - 2010-11-19 08:57

      @ Foitapoilet, that war has been over for 21 years now. How old do you think those teams now are? Do you even think they still are there as a team waiting to go out on a mission? No mate, those guys are now in private practice running personal protection, security consultancies, farming, and in areas of the world where their skills are needed.

      foitapoilet - 2010-11-19 09:26

      @Worldwise, Yes the war is over and gone now, so have those men of that era. However year after the same relevant courses for this proposed solution are presented by the Regiments, and the same skills are pasted on. They now have better equipment and technology compared to then. Selection, Survival, Reconnaissance, photography, HALO/HAHO, snipers. The teams are there and have met and maintained the standards. Don’t under estimate nor compare 'your' present SF. It’s not fair on them as they still deserve credit for qualifying and being there. It’s only the results that can be the judge. But we will never know because it not their style to kiss and tell. Just get them deployed and you shall see.

      Delarey - 2010-11-19 09:37

      Right on all counts, especially the high ranking involvement. A couple of Recces let loose would do wonders but human-rights activists would be up in arms before the first guy got out of his jeep. Another sad day not just for Africa but the world at large. Civilization? A rare commodity when you look around the world

      HAYNE, Mark - 2010-11-19 10:56

      @Worldwise Sure, the recces of the 70’s and 80’s may not be physically up to the task but we do still have military and police special forces who need training and experience. Surely time in reserves would assist in making them combat ready?

      Jean - 2011-01-10 00:49

      Yes. I totally agree with you. This needs to happen now!!

  • spiderkzn - 2010-11-19 07:06

    268 Rhino!!!! That way too much. HORN (HELP OUR RHINO NOW!)

  • Alwyn - 2010-11-19 07:11

    268 for the year,in 10 years they will be extinct.Suggestion...maybe max sentence 40 years +, and amputate the poachers horn send it to China for whatever they do with it,maybe somebody should tell them that elephant dung does the same,,nothing all in the mind

      Wendy - 2010-11-19 12:37

      280 is the right figure, going according to figures avaiable, you are very right, there will be no rhino left in South Africa in 40 years. Zimbabwe only have 700 left. We have/had 11 000 white and 1500 black rhino but this is declining at an alarming rate.

  • Joey - 2010-11-19 07:23

    Absolutely shocking, disgusting, heartbreaking....... there isn't enough words. May they rot in hell.

  • Joey - 2010-11-19 07:24

    Absolutely disgraceful, heartbreaking........ not enough words to describe. May they rot in hell.

  • Annie - 2010-11-19 07:35

    I agree 100%, shoot on site!! Why must the tax payer pay for them to be jailed (if they ever do get jailed...) or even if they're injured, there again why should the tax payer pay for for their medical treatment. Shoot them and get it over with. Such disgraceful people!!! And while sorting out these barbarians, they might as well just get rid of the idiots buying the goods too!

  • gilliansan - 2010-11-19 07:44

    WTF! Horrible news to start the day with - something has to be done about this. It's clearly not helping to arrest and release on bail.

  • Ian Dickinson - 2010-11-19 07:48

    This situation has become like a horror movie, killing on an unprecedented scale - We have to put a stop to this, farming rhinos for their horns is not a viable solution. the Asian demand for rhino horn has to be eradicated and anti-poaching initiatives strengthened.

      Ingel - 2010-11-26 11:41

      Good idea :-)

  • Tugboat - 2010-11-19 07:53

    Poison all confiscated Rhino horn (and Perlemoen for that matter) and release it back onto the black market.

  • kingswing69 - 2010-11-19 07:53

    they must catch these people and cut their penis off

  • Tugboat - 2010-11-19 07:54

    Poison all confiscated Rhino Horn and release it back into the black market.

      dataanimal - 2010-11-19 08:23

      That's it! I like how you think! Scare the consumer and the markter will dry up. Better yet, get the vets and clever people to administer something to the rhino's that will make their horns pure poison to consume, without affecting the Rhinos! This way even the market of poaching the animals will dry up!

      Mike - 2010-11-19 09:24

      Just spread the word that SA is adding cyanide & itching powder. But keep on adding "other stuff" anyway.

      Joan Kleynhans - 2010-11-19 16:57

      I agree. In fact it is rumoured this is already happening.

      Dolphins - 2010-11-20 22:53

      That won't work. Look at the Dolphins in Taiji...full of mercury but they end up in the supermarket! These people don't care!!!

  • Fran - 2010-11-19 08:15

    I know we have to fight the problem here, but has any one considered what action we could take or should be doing in the East... we need to stop the Market for the Rhino Horns... We need to Bombard the East with pictures, facts, a pressure!!!

      Worldwise - 2010-11-19 09:04

      @ Fran, that would be like atheists bombarding religious believers with with pictures and facts. They simply won't believe what they don't want to hear. Pictures? You been to China? Pictures will have no effect on these hillbillys. In china you choose your restaurant meal from a cage and watch it being killed and cooked for you. At the zoo you can buy a live chicken and feed it to lions or tigers and watch the glee on the peoples face watching it being torn to shreds.

  • Drew - 2010-11-19 08:46

    Anything that is called a 'Ranch' in SA makes me nervous. I would like to know why the fences were taken down between Kruger & Letaba 'Ranch' in the 1st place & if the correct investigations were done with regards to if Letaba 'Ranch' was in fact a conservation area or just another hunting property?

  • Drew - 2010-11-19 08:53

    Anything that is called a 'Ranch' in SA makes me nervous. I would like to know why the fence was dropped between Kruger & Letaba 'Ranch' in the 1st place & if proper investiagtions were done with regards to if Letaba 'Ranch' is a conservation property or just another one of the many hunting properties?

  • Zeeh - 2010-11-19 09:02


  • Kent - 2010-11-19 09:04

    to all of you who defended that moron who shot himself 2 weeks ago - people like him make it possible that these kind of trades get established.

  • Rosalind - 2010-11-19 09:09

    South African leaders are in bed with the Chinese, the biggest demanders of horn. Does anyone think that it is incidental that "neatly cut horn" is being supplied from within our national parks. Why did these same leaders purchase irrelevant military supplies when what we really needed was border poaching patrol weapons.

      LGVS - 2010-11-19 21:15

      I think that our president must be in on the deal. I mean, with his libido he must be snuffing powdered rhino horn.

  • Delarey - 2010-11-19 09:18

    Shoot the bastards on sight! It’s pathetic that we are fired upon then wound a couple, take them prisoner and tend to their injuries!!! They fear nothing and are quite happy to shoot to kill to get at these rhinos. Sooner or later some poor ranger is going to get killed by these bastards. It's a sad testament to humanity and our society. At the same cesspool level one must of course put the people that are the end users of these poor rhino’s horns!! This is the year 2010! Stop behaving like brainless barbarians. This is not just about stopping these cretins than are running around with guns but also getting the masterminds that are within our borders and obviously ‘close’ to the parks and reserves.

      Kent - 2010-11-19 09:29 need to translate this in to Chinese - they are not known to speak a second language.

  • Lee-Ann - 2010-11-19 09:26

    So who specifically takes responsibility for the running and maintenance of the Letaba ranch?

      Wendy - 2010-11-19 12:24

      Its a Government run ranch. And for the record, including the 18 now found the figure stands on 280. Not 268 as stated!

  • wesleywt - 2010-11-19 09:33

    Goodluck with the knife crime there

  • HAYNE, Mark - 2010-11-19 09:40

    To those who advocate the summary execution of poachers- the carnage on our roads is a far greater threat to me and my loved ones than poachers, so I suggest that traffic officials be given the powers to summary execute offenders. Sorry for you next time you go though a speed trap!

  • Karen - 2010-11-19 09:52

    Killing because of hunger one can sort of understand? But killing for "Sport" or "Body Parts" is just inexcusable. THEN when an Animal attacks a Human Being it is a BIG story - and the ANIMAL will be put down! I am so ashamed of my species !

  • dictator - 2010-11-19 10:25

    The disgusting corrupt anc is involved that is why not much is being done about rhino poaching.Where do you think the poachers get their helicopters from???Why do black people break everything down?

      John Wilderness - 2010-11-19 14:16

      Right so here the race cards are taken out and held high. Time to kick black people again I see. On the other forum where a white woman conspired to have a white man killed the race cards are mysteriously gone. Mysterious ? I think not.

  • lacisnesnon - 2010-11-19 14:29

    Seriously...cut off their penises and leave them to bleed out.

  • David Barber - 2014-01-11 15:33

    There are many sites online that will help you donate $2.-$1.- $5 or more. This is SO flippin' disgusting and sadistically cruel. You remember what happened to Digit, the gorilla who had his head and hands cut off and made into ash trays????? C'mon people what is $10 to you when you think about it(?) a beer? a bag of potato chips(?) Let us do something to help these poor animals. I have no doubt if given the chance I'd go over there and do to them what they do to these poor animals who do nothing but give us joy to look at. And we claim to be at the top of the food chain. Shame

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