Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has announced the discovery of 11 rhino carcasses, all lost to poaching incidents that have occurred over the past three weeks.
According to a statement released by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, eight of the dead rhinos (seven White rhino and one Black rhino) were found in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, six having been recently shot on the western shores of the park while two were found on the eastern shores area. Of the other three, two White rhino were found in the uMsuluzi Community Conservation Area near Colenso. The other rhino, which was reported about a week ago, was lost in the Weenen Nature Reserve.
Dr Bandile Mkhize, CEO of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, said, however depressing this news was, he was determined to keep working on solutions and tightening up on security matters.
“No one can point fingers but it would appear that these attacks came at a time when we were a little vulnerable, especially in the western shores area, which has a 100km-long boundary,” said Mkhize.
Tony Conway, iSimangaliso Park Manager, said a spent 458 cartridge was found, which clearly indicates that heavy-calibre firearms were being used. The Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing helicopter assisted in the search for poachers.
Mkhize said Ezemvelo had intensified its aerial patrol at iSimangaliso Wetland Park and is looking at improving its underground information-gathering efforts around the park.
The loss of these rhinos comes at a time when Ezemvelo is preparing for the Rhino Summit at the University of Zululand. The summit will discuss a number of issues, including how to involve the communities as the first line of defence, national strategy on rhino poaching and how to improve local networks in combating wildlife crime.
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