DURBAN, May 7 — Two rhinoceros poachers have been shot dead in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park near Durban in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province.
The Ezemvelo KZN wildlife anti-poaching unit said Tuesday that the poachers had just killed a white rhino when rangers arrived on the scene. An axe, a rifle and two horns were found in their possession.
Department of Environmental Affairs Spokesman Jeffry Zikhali, said the rangers had no choice but to defend themselves.
“When the lives of our guards are put at risk they have to protect themselves; it is a very sad incident that lives had to be lost,” he added.
“The department will do anything and also the guards will do anything possible to protect the lives of the rhinos and also their own lives.”
Ezemvelo said the level of poaching in KwaZulu-Natal was escalating with three rhino carcasses found over the past week. The number of rhino poached in the province this year had risen to 33, including four endangered black rhinos.
About 28 arrests have been made and 20 firearms have been recovered.