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'Worst year ever' for rhinos in Eastern Cape

There have been at least four incidents of poaching in the province since the start of the year.

A rhino being buried after he died from injuries sustained during a poaching attack. Picture: Sibuya Rhino Foundation.

CAPE TOWN - The Sibuya Game Reserve says there've been at least four rhino poaching incidents in the Eastern Cape since the start of the year.

Three white rhino were attacked by poachers at the reserve last week.

Two females died shortly after they were darted and had their horns sawn off.

A third male rhino died hours later. His horn too, had been sawn off.

Two calves were left orphaned.

Sibuya Game Reserve owner Nick Fox said, "All the game reserves around have had problems over the last couple of years. This was unfortunately the first problem that we've had. It is coming into the Eastern Cape and it's been the worst ever so far this year. There have been four or five incidents and I think this is the fifth incident now."

The reserve's Charlene Watson says the mutilated animals were discovered during anti-poaching patrol.

"We are heartbroken and devastated; they are part of our family. They have left little ones who have gone to a reserve at Shamwari," says Watson.

Watson adds that with the highest number of white rhino living in the region, several parks have been targeted by poachers in recent years.

"We have been incredibly lucky till now. This is the first incident we have had. We have always had the best security measures that we can possibly have in place, as have the other reserves. But you can't cover all of the reserve all of the time."