Woman Who Runs Wildlife Orphanage Opens Up About Night Poachers Killed Two Baby Rhinos
The owner of a wildlife reserve in South-Africa has written a book about her experiences, including the horrifying night two baby rhinos were killed by poachers who took their horns.
In her book An Elephant In My Kitchen, Françoise Malby-Anthony recalls being woken one night at 2am by a phone call from a member of her team who told her the devastating news that a gang of poachers, armed with guns, had broken into the rhino orphanage, shot them for their horns and attacked volunteers.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Malby-Anthony described how five armed men arrived at theThula Thula reserve, disabled security cameras and attacking the security guard to get inside. They sat, quietly, in wait for the young volunteers to start feeding the babies.
"Suddenly, they were ambushed by the poachers," she wrote. "And shoved into a locked office. At gunpoint, Axel was roused and forced to round up the rest of the volunteers.
"'Where are the rhino horns?' the attackers kept asking. Needless to say, we didn't have any, but Axel [a member of staff] was beaten and one of the girls was severely assaulted.
"The poachers must have known that Gugu and Impi - now our oldest rhinos at the orphanage - were due to leave soon. And that meant they'd already have stubby little horns.
"While three men guarded the youngsters, two others, armed with guns and an axe, headed for the calves. They pumped bullets into Gugu and Impi for horns no bigger than a child's fist.
Dehorning of our rhinos and the setting of GPS and satellite collars. THANK YOU to our amazing team.
THANK YOU to all our generous donors for your help to protect our precious wildlife.
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"Gugu died instantly, sweet Impi didn't. The poachers didn't give a damn. They held him down and hacked his face with the axe."
The whole attack took just half an hour before the men ran off - meanwhile, the security guard had managed to escape and raise the alarm.
While Gugu died staright away, Impi survived, however, as soon as a vet arrived on the scene, he was euthanised.
Malby-Anthony, who set up the reserve and its orphanage with her late husband and conservationist Lawrence Anthony, says despite incidents like this, the good work they do must carry on.
Writing that after losing her faith in mankind, it was restored after donations flooded in for people around the world who wanted to support the work her and her team do.
She added: "I believe with all my heart that, when tragedy strikes, we have to do our best to let good come out of it."
An Elephant In My Kitchen by Françoise Malby-Anthony & Katja Willemsen is on sale from 26 July.
Source: Daily Mail
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Thula Thula