Last week’s killing of an 11-year-old white rhino in a KwaZulu-Natal park has pushed up the province’s death toll.
The rhino, named Maxine, was brought to the Natal Lion Park in Camperdown as an orphan and raised there. She was killed early on Tuesday morning.
The Park said via its Facebook page: “We are devastated to announce that our beloved Maxine, the white rhino that everyone has come to know and love at the park, was killed by poachers.”
They said that according to the veterinary surgeon, who examined her after the attack, the rhino was killed instantly by a bullet to the head while asleep.
“So the one blessing is that she didn’t suffer when they removed her horn.”
The park said: “We are so sad and in shock, and will do everything possible to find the culprits responsible for this heinous crime.”
They also lauded the efforts of the Stock Theft Unit, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the SAPS for responding to the call quickly.
“We hope that arrests will be made soon so that the poachers can be brought to justice. RIP Maxine.”
Ezemvelo KZN’s Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said that, as of Thursday, the province had lost 128 rhinos to poaching. They had also made more than 70 arrests since the beginning of the year.
Two weeks ago, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said they had arrested two people in the Nkangala area, 2km outside the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.
The unit’s members questioned the men, who immediately admitted to poaching a rhino and voluntarily led the officers to where they had hidden the horn.
Mntambo said at the time another arrest had been made that week at the Makhamisa section of the park.