By Ingrid Oellermann
EZEMVELO KZN Wildlife authorities lost a further two rhinos to poachers at the weekend.
A black rhino bull tht [sic\ was caught in a snare in Ndumo game reserve was humanely put down, while a white rhino cow died a horrible death when it was shot and de-horned while still alive on Friday in the Opathe Heritage game reserve near Ulundi.
The Opathe game reserve has become a hot-spot for rhino poaching since 2009.
Although accurate statistics could not be obtained, it is believed that more than half the population of an estimated 25 rhino in the park at Opathe have been lost to poachers.
Rod Potter of the KZN Wildlife crime working group said that although he has not received the latest figures, at least 170 rhinos have been killed by poachers countrywide so far this year.
Of these, 14 have been slain in KwaZulu-Natal — three of them black rhino and 11 white rhino.
Potter said it is obvious from the widespread spraying of blood around the scene where the white rhino was butchered that the animal was still alive when the horns were removed.
He said poachers are often so anxious to get the horns and make their escape, that rather than risk firing more shots to ensure that the animal is dead, they simply set about their work without a care in the world.
EKZNW spokesperson Maureen Zimu confirmed the incident, and said the organisation will not issue a statement pending the outcome of the investigation.