Rhino poachers are killed by a goat: Two men die when their vehicle hits small animal as they try to flee gamekeepers in Zimbabwe
- Rangers gave chase after tracking a group of suspected poachers in game park
- The men sped off with the gamekeepers in pursuit, but hit a goat and overturned
- Two survivors of the crash have been charged with poaching and remanded
Two suspected rhino poachers in Zimbabwe were killed while fleeing game park rangers after their car hit a goat and overturned, it has emerged.
Godfrey Makechemu and Charles Runye died on admission to Beitbridge District Hospital following the crash at the Bubye Valley Conservancy in Mazunga, Matabeleland South Province, near the border with South Africa.
When park rangers who were tracking the men spotted them, they sped off in their Toyota Wish car with the gamekeepers in hot pursuit – but hit a goat and overturned.
A rhino, named Moloko, after undergoing a procedure by South Africa’s Rhino Rescue Project to destroy the value of his horn to poachers
Two other occupants of the vehicle survived the accident last Wednesday and have been charged with poaching offences, News 24 and Nehanda Radio reported.
James Mauto, 41, and Celestino Shate, 35, appeared before the Beitbridge resident magistrate Langton Mukwengi, Nehanda Radio reported.
They were charged with unlawful hunting of a specially protected animal in violation of the Parks and Wildlife Act.
Mauto and Shate were remanded in custody and the trial was adjourned until June 28.
Prosecutor Misheck Guwanda said last Wednesday, June 12, the four men fled in their Toyota Wish car when they saw park rangers following them.
He said the men’s tracks indicated they were following Rhino spoor.
Anti-poaching campaigners tweet their satisfaction at the deaths of the two suspected poachers, but sympathy for the goat
‘Acting on a tip off, a police mobile unit saw the suspected poachers coming out of Bubye Valley Conservancy and heading towards a nearby Jopembe village and pursued them,’ Mr Guwanda said.
A rifle with a telescopic sight was found at the scene of the crash.
On questioning, the suspects could not give a satisfactory account of themselves and were arrested.
EWN reported that rhino in the Bubye conservancy are facing an increased threat from poachers.
Last month two suspected poachers were reportedly killed in a shootout with rangers from the park.
The lucrative international black market trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn has led to poaching that has driven species to the edge of extinction