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Rhino Poaching OUTSIDE Lewa

June 10, 2004 Sara Spendrup

The appalling photos that accompany this note were taken o­n 7th June 2004. Poaching by cable snaring reveals the true horrors of what has been taking place o­n a nearby Rhino sanctuary that Lewa is assisting, along with KWS to eradicate this poaching catastrophe.

An urgent call came into Lewa that a black rhino, still alive, was caught in a cable snare and urgent help was needed. Rapid efforts ensued and a KWS vet was rushed to the scene.

The picture that confronted us o­n arrival was absolutely outrageous and nothing short of a horrendous killing field. The smell came first, then the noise of swarms of flies and finally the grotesque site. Imagine an area the size of half a tennis court with a small water hole at o­ne corner. In the middle of this a three day old carcass of a mature cow black rhino, cable snare around its neck and horns still intact. Just six meters away to o­ne side a sub adult 4-5 year old female black rhino still alive, anchored to a tree by a cable snare round its neck, totally exhausted. The bush and foliage flattened in an arc around the tree that it was wired to, by possibly two days and nights of frantically trying to break free. All this within the rotting stench of its mother!!!!

Believe it or not, a third black rhino carcass (three months old) lay four meters the other side of the rotting mother. Again strangled in a cable snare, horns missing. Between this carcass and the rotting mother lay a buffalo carcass (six months old) that had without a doubt succumbed to the same death in a cable snare.

The KWS vet darted the live rhino, cut the cable snare, treated the animal and revived her. She ran off to her freedom, but not without treeing the team! At this point she turned o­n her rotting mother and attacked her ferociously before disappearing into the thick bush.

A further five cable snares were recovered from the nearby bush, all set o­n paths leading to the water hole. They had been very carefully set and in a well accustomed and thought out manner. The horrific results were there to see.

A rapid reaction team is o­n its way, in a concerted effort to halt this carnage before it is too late. Ian, David and Richard are going to the rhino sanctuary today to formalise a long term plan to help in the protection of these rhino.

On a much happier note; Lewa has had its second black rhino born this year. Meluaya, a 7.5 year old black rhino female, had her first calf born o­n the 4th of June. Mother and baby are dong fine but she is not letting us near enough for us to take any photos.

The current rhino numbers o­n Lewa are; 38 black and 33 white.

Finally Ian will be visiting the States again in the second half of September for another fundraising trip. If you feel it would be of interest and financially worthwhile for him to attend a function hosted by you please let Betsy Searle know Email: Bsearle@5pioneers.com