By Gareth Wilson on January 29, 2016
A DEHORNED white rhino was found dead at the Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve on the outskirts of Port Alfred early yesterday morning.
This marks the second poaching in the Eastern Cape so far this year.
It comes a week after Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa announced that 1175 rhino had been poached between January and mid-December last year, slightly down from the 1215 rhino poached the previous year.
Reserve manager Chris Roberts said they were “broken up” over yesterday’s discovery.
“At this stage I do not want to reveal too much as it is part of an ongoing investigation,” he said.
“I can confirm the incident and we are all very broken up about it. All our rhino were dehorned a year back so the poachers at the most took a fairly small stump of horn.
“The rhino cow is an estimated 15 years old. I can confirm that she was found deep in the bushes and not near the road.”
According to officials, the total value of the horn stump that was taken is estimated to be about R500000 and the value of the rhino R400000.
Shamwari Wildlife crime specialist and Indalo Group intelligence coordinator Rodney Visser said the first poaching of the year occurred on the eZulu Game Reserve located between Bedford and Grahamstown on January 1.
The Indalo Group comprises seven private reserves in the Eastern Cape which pool resources in a bid to curb poaching and other crimes.
“I can confirm that a white rhino was found dead on the Oceana Reserve at about 10am. It appears to have been shot with a high-calibre rifle,” he said yesterday.
The police’s Stock Theft and Endangered Species unit and Environmental Affairs’ elite Green Scorpions were on the scene gathering information.
Last year, 14 rhino were killed in the Eastern Cape.