National 17.4.2014 04.06 pm

Man in court over dehorning live rhino

FILE PICTURE: A print screen of a dehorned rhino seen in Kruger Park (Warning: graphic).
A Mozambican man accused of dehorning a white rhino while the animal was still alive appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Thursday.

Jonas Makhubela, 24, was arrested by rangers in the Mjokwane section of the Kruger National Park on March 31 for trespassing and dehorning a white rhino, a Sapa correspondent reported.

The court heard that an accomplice managed to escape across the border into Mozambique with the rhino horn and the firearm used in the crime.

Makhubela was not asked to plead.

Prosecutor Isbet Erwee said this was one of the most gruesome poaching incidents as the suspects hacked off the rhino’s horn while it was still alive.

“The rangers had to euthanise it after the accused and his accomplice hacked off its face while dehorning it. It was still alive when the rangers found it.”

Erwee said the accused, after his arrest, led the rangers to the scene and pointed out where they left the rhino.

He was remanded in custody and the case was postponed to May 26 for further investigation.

- Sapa

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Lori Sirianni2014-04-20 05:15:12
This man, if tried and found guilty, deserves nothing less than life in prison for such a vicious, barbaric, painful and horrific crime against the rhino - which is also a crime against all of nature. Better yet, because the rhino and elephant poaching crises are so critical and out of control at this point, African nations really need to mandate the death penalty for poachers and traffickers.
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