An entire breeding herd of rhinos was shot and killed by poachers even most of them already had their horns removed.
3 male rhinos and 2 female rhinos were killed in 2 different incidents at the Wildschutsberg Game Reserve in Eastern Cape, South Africa, in the last 3 weeks.
It is reported that the rhinos were tracked down by poachers.
The poachers are believed to have escaped with only minimal amounts of the horn as 4 of the 5 rhinos did not have horns as they were already removed as a part of an anti-poaching effort.
Greg Harvey, the owner of the Wildschutsberg Game Reserve, said, “It is just madness. I had five rhinos of breeding age and they are gone in the blink of an eye. My entire rhino population wiped out.”
Greg added, “Four rhinos were dehorned as a counter-poaching measure earlier this year leaving only little stumps of horn so it was an absolutely pointless slaughter. They still cut out the small bits that remained but would have got very little.”
Even with high efforts, rhinos are being killed by poachers just to sell their horns to people in different countries.
Earlier this year, the South African High-Court ruled that rhino horn could be sold locally by traders who held permits.
Rhino breeders and conservationists say regulated trade in the horns will deter poachers as it will lead to a huge drop in the cost of the horns.
As the horns of the rhinos grow back, breeders say they can cut it off animals under anesthetic, which do not require them to die.
The Rhino horn is mostly made of keratin, which is the same component as human fingernails.
People in China, Vietnam, and other Asian countries believe rhino horn has medicinal and aphrodisiac properties.
In 2018, at least 1054 rhinos were killed in South Africa, which is slightly low from a year before that.