- A mother rhino and her calf are believed to have been killed by poachers.
- Game rangers discovered the carcasses after the suspected poachers had already removed one horn.
- The reserve said it spent between R350 000-R500 000 per month on anti-poaching security.
Anti-poaching security worth nearly half a million rand did not stop poachers from killing a rhino and her calf at a Gauteng reserve this week.
Owners of the Bothongo Rhino and Lion Park were still reeling from shock after a female rhino and her calf were shot dead by poachers on Wednesday.
The reserve's COO, Mike Fynn, said rangers heard shots being fired on the premises in the early hours of Wednesday morning. When they went to investigate, they made the gruesome discovery.
"Our rangers implemented search procedures immediately and discovered the carcasses of the mother and her calf at approximately 05h30. Due to the response of our rangers, the poachers only managed to remove one of the horns before leaving the scene. Sadly, both the mother and calf had been killed," Fynn said in a statement.
"The find was all the more gut-wrenching because these animals were a mother and calf, who delighted all our visitors and became one of the main reasons that nature lovers from around the globe visited our reserve," Fynn said.
He said the animals were killed, despite the reserve spending between R350 000 and R500 000 on security every month.
"Even with such measures in place, we could not fight this scourge, despite our best efforts. In the meantime, we are further increasing security for the rest of our rhino crash (herd)," he said, adding that the management would release further details once they had a clearer picture of the circumstances that led to the incident.
"This is a reminder that rhino poaching remains a crisis and that we will need to stay vigilant if our children's children are to have a chance to see one of Africa's most iconic species living free. We will continue to do everything we can to help the authorities to bring these perpetrators to justice," Fynn said.