Police are still searching for suspected rhino poachers who shot, killed and de-horned two rhinos on a game farm in the Paterson area in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday evening.
The adult rhinos were last seen on Tuesday afternoon and discovered dead the following day.
Police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu says, “It is alleged that the two adult rhinos (male and female) were last spotted during an afternoon game drive on the 1st of February and were discovered dead the following afternoon while on that game drive. Both horns from both carcasses were hacked off. A case of illegal hunting of a protected animal without a permit is under investigation.”
Meanwhile, a 34-year-old Mozambican national, Santos Baloyi, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Friday for rhino poaching.
Baloyi was sentenced after rangers caught him and two alleged accomplices poaching in the Kruger National Park near Malalane in 2022.
The rangers heard gunshots not far from where they were patrolling, a shootout ensued between the poachers and the rangers after which Baloyi was shot in the leg and apprehended.
The other two suspects fled the scene.
SA remains stronghold for world’s rhino population
South Africa with the largest population of rhinos in the world, remains a key player in the conservation of the species, despite the increasing threat of poaching.
Between 2018 and 2021, about 2 700 rhino poaching incidents were recorded across Africa, and 90% of these took place in the country.
More details in the report below: