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Rhino poachers have struck the auction holding pens in South Africa at iMfolozi’s game capture centre, killing a mother and her calf.  The wild rhinos were captured and auctioned off on Monday, and the mother and calf were sold as a unit.  The mother reportedly had the biggest horn of all the rhinos auctioned that day.

According to this report in Times Live a gang of four gunmen arrived at around 2am, tied up and overpowered two armed guards before shooting the rhino mother and calf‚ hacking off their horns and disappearing into the night. On Monday scores of visitors had flocked to the capture pens / bomas to view 10 adult rhinos and five calves that were about to be sold at a public auction by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Rhinos are regularly poached in the wilderness of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi reserve, including 23 recently being slaughtered over a particularly bloody 12 day period, but this brazen attack in a highly secure area surely should raise eyebrows and result in questions being asked – for example about why only two armed guards were on duty and how they were overpowered.

No arrests have been made and Ezemvelo have not yet responded to queries about the incident.

Editor note: Our original post reported that there was one guard on duty. Now amended.

White rhino in holding pen © Simon Espley
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