“Two gunshots were heard late afternoon on Sunday inside Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park,” Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesman Musa Mntambo said in a statement on Monday.
Field rangers were sent to search the area and additional rangers were posted at all possible exit routes. At 5.45pm, there was a shoot-out between the rangers and three unidentified men.
“One suspect was injured during the shooting and was later arrested, while two managed to escape,” said Mntambo.
When the man was searched, rangers found a set of horns, a bag, a torch and an axe. On Monday morning, rangers found the carcass of a white rhino.
Ezemvelo CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize expressed concern at the recent increase in the number of shooting encounters faced by rangers.
“Poachers are always ready to shoot to kill our field rangers. This is very concerning as it puts our rangers in danger whenever they are confronted with poachers,” he said.
He said Ezemvelo would continue to intensify its war against rhino poaching. At least 39 people have been arrested for poaching in KwaZulu-Natal this year, with 63 rhino poached in the province.