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Poacher shot dead in Imfolozi


Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Field Rangers and members of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP) Anti Poaching Unit (APU) shot dead a suspected poacher in an exchange of gunfire in the Makhamisa section of the Park late on Saturday afternoon 05 February 2011.

Ezemvelo staff had earlier received information that an attempt was to be made to shoot a rhino in the Park that day, resulting in the deployment of field rangers in strategic positions late in the afternoon. Close to sunset the Ezemvelo staff heard three shots fired fairly close to them. They moved in the direction of the shots and spotted two suspected poachers. Acting according to a laid-down procedure the field rangers identified themselves and called on the intruders to stand still. One suspect, who was armed with an R-1 rifle, immediately began firing at the Ezemvelo staff who returned fire. In the ensuing exchange of gunfire the suspected poacher carrying the R-1 rifle was shot dead and the other managed to escape, dropping a .303 rifle in the process.
No one in the Ezemvelo group was injured.

As it was fast getting dark the Ezemvelo group could not immediately locate a rhino carcase and the search was resumed by helicopter early on Sunday 6 February 2011. Staff are hoping that the suspected poachers may have missed the rhino altogether, but are continuing to monitor rhinos in the area in case an animal was wounded. This incident follows the successful meeting recently held between SANParks staff from the Kruger Park and members of staff of Ezemvelo during which both parties exchanged information about rhino security.

Ezemvelo also reports the loss of two more black rhinos, the carcases of which were discovered over the same weekend in other KZN protected areas. The dehorned carcase of a black rhino was found in the Zibozini area in the Ophathe Game Reserve on Friday 4 February 2011. It is estimated that the animal had been shot three days previously. In Ndumo Game Reserve Ezemvelo field rangers on a routine patrol on Saturday 5 February 2011, found the snared carcase of a black rhino in the area between the old and present Usutu River course. Both horns were missing and it is unclear whether these were removed by scavengers or poachers. Ezemvelo staff are assisting members of the SAPS Organised Crime Unit from Richards Bay in all cases.

Poacher shot dead in Imfolozi

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