Poaching 'escapade' goes wrong as man drops cellphone at crime scene - report

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Beitbridge – A "poaching escapade" went wrong for a Zimbabwean man, 43, when he dropped his cellphone at a natural conservation park where he allegedly dehorned a rhino worth $120 000, the state-owned Chronicle newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Godknows Mashane was arrested after police investigators tracked him through his cellphone which he dropped at the crime scene.

During a police raid, three firearms, two empty magazines, explosives, a hunter’s torch, ammunition plus two Kudu horns were recovered at the suspect's house.

The suspect had since appeared at the Beitbridge court, facing charges of illegal hunting and killing of a rhino.

He was remanded in jail pending his bail application.

According to reports, Zimbabwe's wildlife authorities last year dehorned at least 700 adult rhino in a bid to curb rampant poaching in the southern African country.

A conservative group in August said that they were aiming to dehorn every adult rhino in the country, while they would ear-notch the young ones for record-keeping.

The rhino were among the most poached animals in Zimbabwe and their population had been dwindling over the years due to illegal hunting, prompting authorities to keep them in protected areas.

Lisa Marabini, director for the Aware Trust Zimbabwe (ATZ) conservation group, was at the time cited as saying that at least 50 rhino were killed by poachers in Zimbabwe's game reserves in 2015.

Rhino horns were worth thousands of dollars due to demand in East Asia for their supposed medicinal qualities.

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