Poachers Kill Last Female White Rhino in South African Reserve



Poachers shot the last female white rhino in a game reserve near Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday, sawed off her horn with a chainsaw, and let her bleed to death:

"The gang used tranquilliser guns and a helicopter to bring down the nine-year-old rhino cow. Her distraught calf was moved to a nearby estate where it was introduced to two other orphaned white rhinos.

Wanda Mkutshulwa, a spokeswoman for South African National Parks, said investigations into the growing number of incidents had been shifted to the country's organised crime unit. 'We are dealing with very focused criminals. Police need to help game reserves because they are not at all equipped to handle crime on such an organised level,' she said."

The situation is dire for the species:

"Wildlife officials say poaching for the prized horns has now reached an all-time high. "Last year, 129 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa. This year, we have already had 136 deaths," said Japie Mostert, chief game ranger at the 1,500-hectare Krugersdorp game reserve…Mkutshulwa said poaching was also rife in the Kruger Park. Five men were arrested there in the past week alone – four of whom were caught with two bloodied rhino horns, AK-47 assault rifles, bolt-action rifles and an axe."