A rhino was killed by suspected Zambian poachers at Tshakabika, Sinamatela in Hwange last week.
One of the three armed poachers was shot dead at close range by Parks rangers on an anti-poaching patrol when he reportedly returned fire while resisting arrest.
Parks spokesperson Caroline Washaya- Moyo yesterday said the rangers confronted the suspected poachers, and in an effort to arrest them the three poachers resisted and fired shots at the rangers.
“It is in this process that rangers returned fire, and the gunner was fatally shot. The unidentified deceased male adult’s body was recovered by police and is currently at Hwange Colliery Hospital mortuary,” she said.
She said the rangers recovered an AK47 assault rifle, 34 live rounds of ammunition and an assortment of goods.
They also recovered a Zambia Sunday Post newspaper, one axe, 15kg mealie-meal with a Zambian label, four kilogrammes of rice, one torch, one mosquito net, 500g matemba, two kg sugar, a Nokia 1208 cellphone with a Zambian line, various
medicinal tablets, a knife, raincoat, a small elephant tusk and cooking pots.
According to section 1:28 of the Parks and Wildlife Act Chapter 20:14, if one is convicted of rhino poaching or is found in possession of a rhino horn, he/she faces a prison term of 20 years.
In 2011, 23 rhinos were poached compared to 52 in 2010.