CHIREDZI — A 57-year-old rhino poacher was last week jailed for 15 years following his conviction on two counts of invading Humani Ranch and Senuko Safari Ranch in Chiredzi and killing the endangered animals.
Elasto Dhobho last Thursday left the court in stitches when he accused one of the complainants of fabricating the poaching allegations to ensure he got incarcerated while the ranch owner took over his wife.
However, the court dismissed the claims as baseless.
Charges against Dhobho were that on June 8 last year, he trespassed into Senuko Safari Ranch and gunned down a black rhino but failed to remove its horn after the animal regained consciousness and staggered off before it collapsed three kilometres away from the scene.
It was discovered by game scouts after three days with its horn intact.
The rhino was valued at $120 000.
The following month, but on a date not known to the State, Dhobho went to Humani Ranch where he shot and killed another black rhino. He chopped off its horn and went away. The animal’s decomposing carcass was only discovered two days later and nothing of value was recovered. The rhino was valued at $75 000.
Spent cartridges recovered from the two incidents were sent for ballistic tests and found to be matching Dhobho’s rifle.
Magistrate Langton Ndokera ordered Dhobho to pay $195 000 restitution to the ranchers while the rifle was forfeited to the State.