Fresh tracks and a blood trail had originally been
discovered over 250m south east of the carcass, and
his stride indicated that he had run for 200 m before
slowing down to a walk and then eventually collapsing
at this final location.
External and Internal Findings
No ear notches were observed and no microchip
was discovered after scanning the entire body with a
universal microchip reader (Identipet Pocket Reader;
Identipet, Johannesburg, South Africa).
Figure 3. Forceps used to highlight the trajectory of the bullet).
Both horns had been removed by a large, sharp blade
(machete or similar) which caused severe lacerations
and trauma proximal, distal and lateral to the horn
This trauma extended through the maxilla and into
the nasal sinuses and resulted in extensive bleeding
from the injuries. Eight cm of the tail tip had also been
Single bullet entry and exit wounds were discovered
lateral and medial to the right mid radius respectively.
An additional bullet entry wound was discovered over
the left lateral thorax, caudal to the shoulder, at a 450
angle directed cranially (Figures 2 and 3).
A high calibre bullet tract was followed from the left
thoracic entry point, diagonally across the cranial
thoracic cavity to where it came to where a bullet
Figure 4. Recovered bullet prior to being
placed in an SAPS evidence bag
came to rest under the skin of the right lateral-ventral
neck region. This bullet was submitted to the SAPS as
evidence (Figure 4).
Figure 2. Poached black rhino sub-adult male turned onto
right side to expose bullet entry point (white star).
The bullet caused severe trauma to the cranial
thoracic organs (cranial lung lobes and heart base)
and resulted in the death of this animal. However,
the trauma was not sufficient enough to cause
an immediate death. Hence, he moved off before
collapsing at the distant site. A second injury involved
a bullet passing perpendicular (lateral to medial)
through the right radius and out the body. This bullet
could not be located.