3 KZN rhino attacked in broad daylight

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Ingrid Oellermann, The Witness

Cape Town – Three rhino were attacked at the Tala Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal.

The act has been called a brazen assault on the rhino population according to a report by the Witness.

The three female rhino were darted and their horns were cut off.

Authorities said that the poachers managed to escape without being detected.

According to Divan Vermaak, the head of the Tala reserve, one of the females was found alive and a vet was able to save the animal by providing her with an antidote.

She was then released back into the reserve where she is being monitored, and may still receive more attention.

The attack apparently happened just 2km from the main entrance of the park and was within view from the gate.

The carcasses were found bloated and just a few metres from the attack area.

The horns were removed with precision, indicating that the poachers were experienced according to authorities.

It is believed that the rhino were darted with a veterinary drug called M99.

The drug consists mainly of a narcotic called Etorphine, known as a heavy muscle relaxant.

Etorphine is 1 000 to 3 000 times stronger (more potent) than morphine.

The drug also reduces one’s respiratory functions, so if a animal is given the too much of the drug or falls incorrectly they are more likely to die from suffocation.

The drug has been used in a number of poaching incidents especially in Natal and was responsible for the death of 8 rhino at the Weenen Game Reserve in 2013.

So far 43 rhino have been poached in the province this year.

According to Derek Grose, Tala’s new manager security will be increased drastically following the incident.

Grose noted that staff members were devastated by the attack and the effect it will have of the reserve, calling it a senseless killing.

A police investigation is currently underway.
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