One of Kimberley's most beloved animals,Abraham the Camel,was speared to death by poachers who apparently wanted the animal's meat. Abraham was one of the main attractions at the popular 8Myl Animal Farm petting zoo. Photo: Danie van der Lith

Kimberley - One of Kimberley’s most beloved animals, Abraham the Camel, was speared to death early on Tuesday morning by poachers who apparently wanted the animal’s meat. Abraham was one of the main attractions at the popular 8Myl Animal Farm petting zoo just outside the city.

Workers on the farm, a facility that rehabilitates and cares for several animals, were alerted by barking dogs early on Tuesday morning.

When they went into the veld to investigate, they found Abraham with numerous stab wounds to his body. Two long spears that were used in the attack were still stuck in the dead animal.

Workers chased after three unknown men, who were spotted in the vicinity, but the suspects managed to escape. One of the dogs, apparently used in the attack, was caught when it got stuck in a fence. The dog was handed over to the SPCA.

It appears as if the poachers were planning to slaughter the camel for its meat because several plastic grain bags, often used by poachers to transport meat in, were found near the carcass.

The police were called to the scene and the K9-unit responded immediately. They followed the poachers’ scent and tracks but by late on Tuesday afternoon, no arrests had been made.

Ida Sonnenberg, owner of the 8Myl Animal Farm, was emotional when she spoke to the DFA early on Tuesday morning and vented her anger against the “savages that committed such a brutal crime”.

“My heart is broken. Of all the game on the farm, why did they have to kill Abraham, one of our most beloved animals? He was part of our family and considered to be the farm’s ‘grandfather’. I am struggling to find words to express the loss I am experiencing,” she said.

“This makes me lose my faith in humanity. I just wonder what he must have experienced in those last minutes before he died because he was such a loving animal. Although he might have been grumpy at times, his face always lit up when someone walked up to him with food.”

Sonnenberg said that they acquired Abraham, along with another camel, Job, two years ago and that they were believed to be between 20 and 30 years old. She added that she was still mourning the death of Job, who died of old age less than two months ago.

According to Sonnenberg, the camels were star attractions at the farm and firm favourites among visitors, with the two even featuring on a few wedding photographs.

She also said that Abraham had been allowed to roam free and was not confined to a encampment after Job’s death because they believe that animals should be free, especially in their last few years.

Sonnenberg further added that they have had numerous incidents of poaching on the farm, but never something that has hit as close to home as now. “Game poaching has become a huge problem, with workers finding traps and snares in the veld almost every day.”

Northern Cape police spokesman, Lieutenant Sergio Kock, on Tuesday confirmed that police were investigating a case of hunting of a wild animal on land belonging to another person and that the suspects are believed to be three men.

They requested anyone with information regarding the incident to contact the Kimberley detectives on 082 495 4646 or 08600 10 111.

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