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Murder of SA anti-poaching ‘rhino hero’ shines spotlight on dangers faced by rangers

Anton Mzimba was killed this week. Picture: Facebook

Anton Mzimba was killed this week. Picture: Facebook

Published Jul 28, 2022

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Durban - The murder of South African game ranger, Anton Mzimba, has shone the spotlight on game rangers around the country, and the dangers they face as they go about their work.

Mzimba was gunned down this week in a suspected hit. Although police have yet to confirm Mzimba's cause of death or the reasons for his demise, speculation is rife that it was a planned attack as a result of the death threats sent to rangers in recent months.

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Mzimba worked as the head ranger for the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, geographically located in Mpumalanga. His death has sent shockwaves around the world with Prince Willam adding his voice to the call for justice.

In a tweet, the Duke of Cambridge said he had met Mzimba in November.

"I'm deeply saddened to learn of the killing of Anton Mzimba who I spoke to in November. Committed and brave, rangers like Anton are central to the conservation of Africa's fantastic wildlife. Those responsible must swiftly be brought to justice. My thoughts are with his family. W," he tweeted.

The Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation said Mzimba's "assassination" has left the conservation world stunned.

"Intelligence-driven information revealed that there had been numerous threats against his life and that his murder was in retaliation for refusing to provide the local rhino poaching syndicate with the exact locations of rhino," WHWF said in a post on social media.

Conservation group and NGO Helping Rhinos said Mzimba's death follows recent death threats and highlights the daily threat facing rangers.

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Mzimba had been a field ranger for 24 years, dedicating his entire life to the protection of Wildlife.

At the 2016 Rhino Conservation Awards, he won the title of Best Field Ranger. He also served as the technical advisor for Global Conservation Corps.

Mzimba was also featured in a documentary about rhino conservation.

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One of the people who worked on the production, John Jurko, said the ranger was one of the most loving and caring people he had ever met.

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