WAN shared a brief and heartbreaking message yesterday from Allison Thomson from outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching (OSCAP). It read “Last night one of our rhino orphanages was attacked by poachers. I cannot give you more info now except that some rhinos were killed. One had to be euthanized this morning. The staff were apparently beaten. Please keep all of them in your thoughts.”
Here is the latest update as of now:
The vicious attack on Monday took place at the Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; tragically leaving rhinos dead, care-givers severely beaten and one young woman sexually assaulted.
An Indiegogo fundraising campaign launched by orphanage volunteer, Megan Richards, has already generated $16,237 in a few hours. The goal is to reach $55,000 USD to enable them to keep the remaining baby rhinos safe for a year.
What transpired the evening of February 20, 2017 when five criminals descended upon the once tranquil sanctuary of Karen Trendler’s revered Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage, is an extreme wake-up call to just how dangerous, unruly and catastrophic the rhino poaching industry in South Africa has become.
While the number of how many rhinos were killed during the massacre is in question, it has been confirmed that at least one baby rhino had to be euthanized this morning due to the severity of his or her injuries.
While Karen was not at the orphanage when the attack took place, she, and her team, are distraught and extremely traumatized by what occurred.
The national South African Police Service anti-poaching program, Operation Rhino 7, has already impounded a vehicle and rifle possibly linked to the crime, as well as arrested two suspects. Their work is ongoing.
“Countries need to work together to put an end to this, as long as there is a market for rhino horn out there, we will continue to see this,” said Christina Pretorius, Communications Manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) IFAW Southern Africa; which Is especially appalled at the attack of the rhino orphanage.
People are requested to pump up the pressure for the South African government to instigate change and regain control of the situation.