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Rhino Featured on TV Killed in Zimbabwe


FILE - A rhino is seen in its natural habitat in the Bubi area, about 500 kilometers south of Harare, Zimbabwe, Dec. 20, 2010.

A rhinoceros featured in a popular wildlife television series has been put down by veterinarians in Zimbabwe, after it was critically wounded by poachers.

The eight-year-old rhino was shot multiple times by an assault rifle last Tuesday in Matopos national park in southern Zimbabwe, said Bhejane Trust, an animal conservation group in Zimbabwe.

For nearly a week, the rhino, named Ntombi, suffered from deep bullet wounds in three of her legs and in her right shoulder. She also sustained a front broken leg.

“She has lived a week of indescribable agony,” Bhejane Trust said Monday.

The Bhejane Trust said it is offering “a substantial reward” for information leading to the arrest of the poachers who shot Ntombi.

Poachers have killed more than 150 rhinos in Zimbabwe during the past five years, according to Lowveld Rhino Trust, a Zimbabwean rhino conservation group.

National parks officials and conservationists are fighting to protect Zimbabwe’s population of about 800 rhinos. But such efforts are an uphill battle, as parks authorities say there is insufficient money and equipment to conduct extensive patrols in search of poachers.

Ntombi, who left behind a calf that had just been weaned, appeared on the 2011 Animal Planet television show, “Karina: Wild On Safari.”