Hopefully, it will be a lesson learned for four men who were recently apprehended in Paulpietersburg after their thwarted attempts at rhino poaching led to their capture and arrest in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Sadly, however, this grisly incident was not without casualties as, three weeks prior to their arrest, the suspects are believed to have shot and killed a rhinoceros cow and her unborn calf.
The owner of the farm where the incident took place asked not to be named for safety reasons. He lamented that the pregnant rhino that was slain by the poachers was already dehorned, which meant that the poachers gained nothing by needlessly killing the majestic, but endangered creature.
Shortly before midnight on Monday, the brazen poachers returned armed with 375 and 243 hunting rifles. They fired upon their targets and then ran away approximately 300m where they hid in the long grass, allegedly in order to observe what the reaction of the security guards would be.
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Fortunately, they were unable to land a fatal shot in the attack as both rhino cows have small calves.
Due to the swift and efficient reaction of the security guards and the farm owner’s quick response, by that time, approximately 35 members of the Paulpietersburg farming community were at the scene, accompanied by the Vryheid SAPS K9 Unit and Paulpietersburg detective, Jannie de Wet.
A manhunt ensued for the poachers who had fled following their attempt at committing a crime and four suspects were apprehended.
Full details on the poaching incident and subsequent arrests in today’s print edition of the Vryheid Herald newspaper.