By Nosipho Mngoma
Rhino poachers in KwaZulu-Natal are now using drugs to knock out the animals while they cut off their horns.
However, they overdosed at least five rhino last week. The carcasses were discovered in the Weenen Game Reserve in Northern KZN over the past week. None had been shot or hacked, the usual methods used by poachers.
Two rhinos were found alive, but bleeding from their wounds where the horns had been cut off. They too were believed to have been drugged.
“This is a very different poaching scene to anything else we’ve experienced,” said Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife rhino intervention co-co-ordinator, Cedric Coetzee, on Thursday.
“There were no axes or gunshot wounds,” he said. “We just found evidence that the horns were removed with a saw.”
Coetzee said while forensic investigations had only just begun, it appeared as if the poachers wanted to keep the rhinos alive before removing their horns.
A tourist stumbled across one of the dead rhino and game rangers found the others since since Friday.
This brings the number of rhino poached in KZN this year to 70.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesman, Musa Mntambo, said a drug was likely to have been used to immobilise the rhinos so their horns could be “neatly removed, probably using a sharp object like a saw”. More....