Johannesburg – A high-level investigation has been launched after animal census officials recently found 18 rhino carcasses at Letaba Ranch on the western border of the Kruger National Park, an official said on Friday.
“We are very disturbed as a department and we are going to ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter,” said Limpopo tourism spokesperson Joshua Kwapa.
“Following this gruesome discovery, we have launched an intensive investigation,” he told Sapa.
The 18 carcasses – not 17 as was reported in Beeld on Friday – were discovered while officials were doing an animal census from a helicopter.
Kwapa said the 18 carcasses were found over an area of 42 000 hectares.
“It’s old carcasses, investigations indicate that some of these carcasses have been there since 2005.
“Some of them are completely composed to a point of only bones and all of them have been dehorned,” he said.
Meanwhile, game rangers this week caught three suspected poachers near Pretoriuskop as they were on their way out of the game park.
Three rhino carcasses were found in the Loskopdam area at the weekend, two more at a reserve in the Hartbeesfontein area in the North West, and a sixth near Mookgophong (Naboomspruit).
So far 268 rhinos have been poached this year, Beeld reported.