#ShockWildlifeTruth: Pregnant rhino and calf found dead at Pilanesberg National Park

2017-11-03 13:23 - Unathi Nkanjeni
Post a comment 0

Picture: Pilanesberg National Park & Wildlife Trust

Cape Town - As the whole world continues to battle the intense rhino poaching war, an unborn rhino calf, its mother and sibling have been brutally killed by poachers at Pilanesberg National Park.

The Pilanesberg National Park reported the news in a Facebook post on Thursday, 2 November, writing that the mother had been roaming on grounds in the Park that is situated in Mogwase when the animals were gunned down in a brutal attack.

The park rangers were able to scare off the poachers before they could make off with the rhino's prized horns.

While the mother rhino and her calf were instantly killed in the attack, the staff at the park desperately tried to save the unborn calf, but it died inside its mother's womb.

MUST-SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: Project Rhino’s call to dehorn rhino

Heartbreaking images of the rhinos were also shared on Facebook. Staff say they are "devastated" by the loss.

"There are no words. Mom and calf shot and killed by poachers. Horns are still on as the murderers fled the scene when they heard a game drive approach. Mom looks very pregnant as well. We are devastated," the park wrote on their Facebook page. 

According to MailOnline, a spokesman from the park says the unborn calf was expected to be born in February and the rhino family is the latest loss for the Pilanesberg Park. 

"We have lost 16 rhino and three unborn calves so far in 2017 that we are aware of."

"This loss is not due to lack of interest or effort from Park management, as this is a large park with many valleys and hills, which is a difficult territory to operate in," adds the spokesman. 

The Pilanesberg Park has offered a reward for any information that could lead to the arrest of the poachers.

Watch video below:

Rhino crisis highlighted

More than 6 000 rhinos have been shot and butchered for their horns in South Africa alone.

In the midst of the controversial rhino horn online auction, Kruger National Park rangers were involved in two contact incidents with suspected poachers on Friday 18 August, and Sunday 20 August, in the southern part of the park near Mkhuhlu and Cork areas.

SEE: Kruger Poaching War: two attempts stopped as online auction commences

Poachers also attacked Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in KwaZulu-Natal, which has subsequently decided to close down after a heavily armed gang hit the orphanage on the night of 21 February. 

SEE:  Elephant Whisperer's rhino orphanage closure a blow for anti-poaching in SA

In June, SA’s special investigative police unit arrested poaching suspects at OR Tambo International Airport who were trying to smuggle rhino horn out of the country. The two alleged smugglers were arrested on 12 June, with 10 rhino horn to the value at R2.8 million recovered.

SEE: Minister of Environmental Affairs welcomes arrest of rhino horn traffickers

While government says it is doing all it can to reduce poaching and increase arrests, some conservationists have alleged that there is massive corruption within the court system, resulting in the release of several suspects.  It is alleged the ongoing delays in trials are sometimes engineered to go nowhere - while poachers become more brazen in their attack and go unpunished.

What to read next on Traveller24

PICS: Elephants return to the plains of Camdeboo

#ShockWildlifeTruths: Project Rhino’s call to dehorn rhino

Missing travel-blogger family found alive in Brazil