Pregnant Rhino Among Four Killed at Western Cape Game Reserve

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In a horrifying incident on Wednesday night, poachers struck Inverdoorn private game reserve, located north of Cape Town, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. Four rhinos fell victim to this ruthless and senseless attack, and to add to the cruelty, reserve staff have since confirmed that one of the fallen rhinos was pregnant. 

Searl Derman, the owner of Inverdoorn, expressed his shock and trauma in a press release issued on Thursday. He, along with the reserve’s management and staff, was deeply shaken after an anti-poaching patrol discovered the rhinos. Tragically, one of the slain rhinos was pregnant, and her horns had been brutally hacked off.

Derman’s sentiments also harkened back to a haunting 2011 rhino-poaching incident at the nearby Aquila private game reserve. This recent event has reopened old wounds and intensified the urgency to combat rhino poaching. Derman further noted that this incident occurred at a time when the wildlife tourism industry was already reeling from “continued unjustified international travel bans,” compounding the challenges faced by conservation efforts.

According to the press statement, Inverdoorn’s 24-hour anti-poaching unit sprang into action at 10:30 pm on Wednesday. They discovered two rhino tragically killed and two others with severe injuries, with a fifth rhino still unaccounted for. Tracking operations immediately commenced on the 10,000-hectare reserve, with various teams, including management, conservation experts, wildlife veterinarians, and law enforcement, racing to the scene.

Evidence of large-caliber rifle rounds from silenced weapons only deepened the sense of dread. Regrettably, the anti-poaching unit confirmed the deaths of the two injured rhinos, with the heartbreaking revelation that one of the fallen females had been pregnant.

Then, around 2 am on Thursday, another tragic discovery was made. An anti-poaching team found the fifth rhino, a female, in excruciating pain after being shot in the face. 

Derman emphasised that, as they did following the previous poaching incident at Aquila, they are once again committed to sparing no expense or effort in bringing the perpetrators of this ruthless rhino massacre to justice. He concluded by announcing a R100,000 reward for any confidential information leading to the arrest of those responsible, acknowledging the immense heartache and loss endured by the reserve’s staff and management.

Synthetic Horn Taken

Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve has previously gone through the process of dehorning rhinos and replacing their horns with synthetic ones. This innovative approach was implemented to reduce the risk of poaching. Despite being widely publicised and accompanied by signage on reserve fencing, this strategy did not deter the poachers in this latest incident. One of the slaughtered rhinos had a realistic and lifelike fibreglass horn with “zero value to these poachers”.

This senseless act of brutality against these magnificent creatures serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to protect and preserve our rhino populations and to seek justice for those who would harm them.

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