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Poachers using darts to kill rhinos

News

Durban -

With six rhinos poached in two separate incidents in KwaZulu-Natal and the poaching syndicates now using elaborate darting techniques, authorities are rethinking how to stop the scourge.

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MAKWENA THE BLACK RHINO AT THE SOLOLE RESERVE NEAR KOMMETJIE. PIC LEON LESTRADE. 29-12-2004. STORY HELEN BAMFORD. MAKWENA THE BLACK RHINO

Ezemvelo Wildlife spokesman, Musa Mntambo, said the latest incidents, reported on Monday, took the total number of rhinos poached in KZN this year to 86.

One incident happened close to the Hilltop Resort, near Hluhluwe, where two white rhinos were shot, and the other in the Hlabisa area where four rhinos were killed with darts.

“They have a new modus operandi using darts, which is unlike a bullet, and we are concerned about that,” Mntambo said.

He said protecting rhino was their priority and said they would look at ways to encourage people in communities to report others in their communities who were working with syndicates and poaching rhino horns.

Hawks spokesman, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, said they would conduct a post-mortem to ascertain the calibre of ammunition used in the attacks. He added he was concerned about the darts poachers were using.

“These syndicates are out there and they are working, so we are disturbed that they are now using darts, because when they shoot the rangers will obviously not hear anything.

“They seem to be a very sophisticated syndicate and we will check the type of ammunition and the types of chemicals that they use,” he said.

Mulaudzi said the police were committed to fighting rhino poaching and were determined to catch the kingpins.

He called for private game farms to work with law enforcement agencies.

“We all need to work together to protect these animals. Some farms are privately owned and will use their own private security.

“We all need to try to be under one roof to protect them,” he said.

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