Wed, 26 Sep, 2012
Three rhinos were killed by poachers last night on the Lalibela private game reserve, and a fourth one died late this morning. It is suspected that they were poisoned as there were no visible bullet wounds.
The discovery was made early this morning by rangers and guests who were on a game drive.
Lalibela spokesperson Susan Pattison-Wait declined to say how many rhinos remain on the reserve - located about 30km from Grahamstown off the N2 to Port Elizabeth - after last night's poaching, explaining that this could further compromise their safety.
"We're just devastated," Pattison-Wait said. "Everyone here is in such a state of shock."
She was able to offer the reserve's supporters some measure of consolation in the face of this morning's carnage, however, when she confirmed that Lalibela's two-and-a-half-month-old baby rhino and its mother were unharmed, which had been a concern expressed on the reserve's Facebook page
Police and the regional anti-poaching unit were on the scene when Pattison-Wait spoke to Grocott's Mail this morning. Grahamstown police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender said the SAPS organised crime unit were also on site. Pattison-Wait said they weren't sure how the poachers had managed to get into the reserve.
Govender said they were still waiting for representatives from the Tourism Safety Initiative, but could not comment further because the case would be handled by the national police department.