KwaZulu-Natal - A North West rhino farmer says he has no option but to sell the rest of his animals after at least 11 were attacked and shot by poachers with six of them killed and dehorned.
Braam van Greunig, a rhino farmer for more than 10 years, told The Mercury on Sunday night he had no option but to stop his business as he could not deal with poachers and feared for the rhinos’ safety and for that of his family.
According to police, 14 rhinos have been found de-horned in two provinces since Thursday. Eleven were at Van Greunig’s Hartzhoogte game lodge in Amalia, near Schweizer-Reneke, in North West.
Van Greunig said he had applied to move his rhinos six weeks ago. Five days later, one was poached and dehorned.
On Thursday, one of his game farmers found a carcass after following a trail of blood.
When searching his farm he found seven dead, six of them dehorned. Four had survived gunshot wounds with two of them in a critical condition.
“I discovered their tracks and on Friday we found another carcass and then on Saturday we found more,” he said.
“Some of the rhino horns were not removed because, I presume, the poachers ran away.”
Van Greunig has taken the surviving animals to a place of safety.
His loss amounted to about R5 million, he said.
“They were close to me. Some of the rhinos had names, but I am being forced to stop farming for their safety now.”
“These animals are precious to me.”
In the Eastern Cape, three rhinos were found dehorned at a game farm near Kenton-on-Sea.
“A driver was taking tourists on a game drive when he noticed three rhinos in distress,” said police spokesman Paul Ramaloko.
The driver called the police and a vet.
They found that one of the rhinos was dead. Two were in a critical condition.
The rhinos had been darted before their horns were removed, Ramaloko said. - The Mercury