By Estelle Sinkins
Two alleged poachers were arrested by security staff at the privately owned Thula Thula in Zululand in the early hours of Friday morning.
It is believed that the men could have been after the private game reserve's hand-reared rhino, Thabo and Ntombi.
The two young orphans were relocated to Thula Thula from Moholoholo Rehab Centre in Limpopo in 2009 when they were four and eight months old.
Thabo and Ntombi are now guarded by security staff 24 hours a day.
Françoise Malby Anthony, widow of conservationist Lawrence Anthony, and managing director of Thula Thula, confirmed to The Witness that security staff had caught the men.
They were reportedly armed with homemade rifles and an axe. The men were taken to the Ntambanana police station where a case was opened. A third man escaped.
The news, which was posted on Thula Thula's Facebook site, was welcomed by supporters, including Moira Easterbrook who said: "Good news. All animals are vulnerable and mostly helpless in the face of humans with weapons. Who wants to live in a world without animals? I certainly do not; we need to protect them from these poachers and trophy-seeking hunters."
The Thula Thula Game Reserve is a 4?500ha [sic.\ private game reserve.
To fight against rhino poaching and assist with the protection and preservation of Thula Thula's rhinos, Anthony established the Thula Thula Rhino Fund - a chapter of Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation - to raise funds to train guards and buy much-needed specialised equipment.