Game wardens in Zimbabwe have killed a black rhino popular with tourists to end its suffering after suspected poachers shot and severely wounded the animal, the wildlife parks' agency said Monday...
Ntombi, whose name is a native Ndebele word for girl, was an 8-year-old female with a 13-month-old calf living in Matopo National Park in western Zimbabwe.
The rhino had four bullet wounds in its legs and shoulder after being shot last week, said Caroline Washaya-Moyo, a spokeswoman for Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA). Its horns had been sawn off but were later recovered.
Veterinarians from animal conservation group Aware Trust carried out an X-ray that showed Ntombi had "endured unimaginable pain caused by broken legs and open wounds," Washaya-Moyo said.
"The animal was very immobile and was unable to walk to access food and water. Because of the seriousness of the wounds the authority had to put the animal to sleep," she said.
The ZPWMA is investigating the incident. Wardens are taking care of Ntombi's calf, which was not harmed by the poachers.
Buying and selling rhino horn internationally was banned in 1977. In Zimbabwe, killing a rhino carries a mandatory nine-year sentence upon conviction.