It started late at night‚ when rangers heard the crackle of gunfire shatter the peace of the Kruger National Park.
It took until after sunrise before the ensuing drama ended‚ following a gruelling 60km hot-pursuit operation deep into Mozambican territory.
Two more rhinos lay dead‚ with part of their faces hacked off – the latest casualties in the rhino wars that have claimed the lives of more than 7‚000 rhinos and an undisclosed number of human casualties over the last decade.
But this time‚ the killers did not slip quietly into the night across an international border. Instead‚ two suspected poachers were grabbed and hauled off into custody after South African and Mozambican game rangers joined forces to track them down.
The poachers‚ both believed to be Mozambicans‚ were arrested at the weekend after a collaborative operation between rangers from Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park and Kruger National Park in South Africa.
According to the Peace Parks Foundation‚ which is working with Mozambique’s ANAC conservation agency to support wildlife protection in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area‚ South African rangers heard the gunshots late at night and used a new digital radio network to alert their Mozambican counterparts.
A ranger team from the closest Limpopo National Park field ranger post was alerted to meet up with counterparts from Kruger and soon found the carcasses of two white rhino at the border.