The South African National Parks (SANParks) has today (Sat 11 Dec) warned social media users about a video being shared which shows a severely injured White Rhino cow. The video is distressing to watch, warned SANParks.
The gruesome discovery of the badly mutilated female rhino was made by SANParks’ rhino dehorning team on Thursday, in the south of the Kruger National Park (KNP).
Tragically, the rhino had already been suffering for a while when she was found. According to the SANParks Veterinarian and the Section Ranger who attended to her, it appeared as if she had been shot a few days prior to being found. Bullet wounds were visible in her head and foreleg, and there were open wounds to her nasal cavity where her horn had been brutally hacked off. There were additional injuries to the lower back, presumably dealt to stun her.
A decision was made to euthanize the rhino due to the extent of her wounds and the level of infection. SANParks Environmental Crime Investigations Unit have collected all available evidence from the scene.
SANParks said this horrific incident took place despite their continuous and dedicated efforts to curb Rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park, through a number of focussed initiatives.
Managing Executive of the KNP Gareth Coleman said “this horrific incident has left our Rangers and colleagues traumatised as they are doing everything they can to protect these magnificent animals and threatened species. Rhino sightings are a key reason why tourists visit the Park and in so doing contribute to the local economy. We are appealing to members of the public to assist law enforcement agencies to bring these criminals to book”.
Rhino Poaching Arrests in South Africa
This year alone, 69 poachers have already been arrested in the Kruger National Park. A further 105 perpetrators of environmental crime were arrested outside the boundaries of the Park.
Just yesterday SANParks reported the arrests of eight suspected poachers during October and November 2021, in villages adjacent to the Kruger. Four suspects were arrested for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition after being found in possession of four high calibre rifles and live rounds; they have since appeared in court on various charges. They were arrested in and around Hazyview in Mpumalanga.
In Limpopo just outside Punda Maria Gate, four additional suspects were apprehended after information was received from community members by SANParks and the South African Police Service. The arrested suspects were found in possession of poison, dried and cooked buffalo meat, knives, shoes, snare cables, elephant droppings, elephant skins, elephant dried lips, and a baboon’s dried arm and wild animal’s bones.
The Skukuza Regional Court has recently imposed heavy sentences on those found guilty of rhino poaching in the Kruger which has been welcomed by SANParks.
Coleman congratulated all the teams involved in the anti-poaching operation and commended community members who gave information that led to the successful operations.
Earlier this week, four rhino were brutally killed on a private game reserve near Ceres in the Western Cape of South Africa. A fifth rhino was severely injured. Inverdoorn Game Reserve owner Searl Derman has offered a R100,000 reward for information leading to the poachers.
Two weeks ago, a &Beyond Phinda game reserve in South Africa sent 30 wild white rhino to Rwanda where the rhino will be safer in the Akagera National Park which has established extremely tight security for its wildlife.