Poachers have killed two rhinos during a vicious attack on an animal orphanage in South Africa.
According to the BBC , the staff at the Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage were taken hostage by poachers on Monday night. The poachers then took the horns off two rhinos held at the orphanage, named Gugu and Impi, with a devastating outcome.
Gugu was killed instantly in the attack, but Impi survived only to have to be euthanised the next morning due to his injuries. Staff members were also assaulted in the attack.
The rhinos were due to have their horns removed next week in the hope that they would be less vulnerable to poachers.
Conservation efforts have amplified in recent years to try and combat the dwindling rhino populations around the world. South Africa has seen a decline in the over number of rhinos killed in the first-half of 2016 – down to 702 from 796 the previous year.
However, this latest attack shows an increasing escalation of violence, as poachers continue to seek the previous ivory. The ivory trade is becoming increasingly sophisticated, as ivory continues to be highly prised in many parts of the world, especially Asia; where it is thought to hold medicinal properties.
According to the conservation group, Save The Rhino, there are only 29,000 rhinos left worldwide. The most affected is the Northern White Rhino, where only two females and a male still exist. Last year, scientists were investigating the possibility of IVF for these rhinos, in an effort to save their species.