Six KZN rhino killed in one night
South Africa | 5 July 2017, 09:28am
DURBAN - Poachers killed six rhinos in a single night at one of KwaZulu-Natal's biggest game reserves.
Rangers found the carcasses of six dehorned white rhino at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi reserve on Monday morning.
"To lose six rhinos in one night is devastating," said KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife spokesman Musa Mntambo.
Mntambo said field rangers had heard gunshots late on Sunday night. Rangers and anti-poaching unit investigators found the dead rhino's in the Mbhuzane area. The gender and age of the rhinos have not been established yet.
"We are currently under severe attack from poachers. To lose such a high number in one night is a concern. In 2016, 69 rhinos were killed in the province compared to 139 in 2017," a concerned Mntambo said.
Rangers had arrested 44 poachers last year and 70 in 2017.
The incident follows a week after the Department of Environmental Affairs stated that the planned sale of rhino horn by private rhino owners is for domestic trade only subject to the issuance of the relevant permits in terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act.
"The commercial international trade in rhino horn is and remains prohibited in terms of the international protocols that South Africa is party to. The Constitutional Court judgment in April 2017 confirming the setting aside the 2009 moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn retrospectively does not mean that persons are allowed to trade (including selling, donating, or in any way acquiring or disposing of rhino horn) without a permit issued by the relevant provincial conservation department," said DEA spokesman Albi Modise
The DEA is still in the process of inspecting privately owned rhino horn stockpiles.