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Rhinos butchered by poachers who hacked them to death with chainsaw for horns

Two rhinos lie butchered after poachers hacked them to death with an chainsaw to steal their horns.

The sickening photos were taken in the Okavango Delta, northern Botswana, and they graphically illustrate the brutal trade in poaching and trophy hunting.

The carcasses were found in Mombo, a privately owned sanctuary inside the protected Moremi Game Reserve.

Eduardo Goncalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting said: “Rhino horn is worth more than gold and heroin on the black market.

“All poaching and trophy hunting needs to be stopped if we have any chance of saving these magnificent animals.

A rhino butchered by poachers
Rhinos and elephants are targeted for their tusks and horns (Image: LightRocket via Getty Images)

“This means a global ban backed up by tough punishments.” Botswana is seeing its worst poaching crisis in years.

“It’s last president, Ian Khama, banned all trophy hunting in 2014, and brought in a shoot-to-kill policy on poachers.

But the current president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, who was elected last year, overturned his predecessor’s ban, and disarmed and disbanded anti-poaching units.

25 elephants were poached in recent weeks (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images)

Reports of rhino poaching in the southern African state resurfaced last month, with the killing of a rhino outside a protected part of the Okavango Delta.

Last week, the carcasses pictured above were found, taking the total poached recently to seven. It comes just days after Botswana officially allowed elephant trophy hunting to recommence, after it was banned in 2014.

Crime agency Interpol has named Botswana as a “main country of origin” for rhino horns smuggled into Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

And a report sent to Botswana’s government said 25 elephants were poached in recent weeks.

The evil ivory trade continues

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Mr Goncalves said: “Botswana has effectively given the green light to killing endangered wildlife by restarting the trophy hunting of elephants.”

Last month, the CITES international wildlife trade conference approved the doubling of permits to trophy hunt critically endangered black rhinos.

Mr Goncalves responded: “Poachers often use trophy hunting permits to acquire rhino horns to sell on the black market.”