Two suspected rhino poachers were killed in an exchange of gunfire with four Botswana Defense Force (BDF) officers on Aug. 25 as the poachers tracked a rhino they had shot in the Moremi Game Reserve in northern Botswana.
“The nationalities of the two is still unconfirmed, but it is suspected they may be from neighboring Namibia. Police investigations are ongoing as bodies of the two deceased are at Letsholathebe Hospital in Maun,” said acting Maun police chief, Superintendent Samuel Kgomo.
The two suspected rhino poachers were ambushed by the BDF Anti-Poaching Unit near Mombo Camp in the game-rich Okavango Delta. Alerted by the sound of gunfire, the BDF officers, who were on patrol in the area, went to investigate and discovered a wounded cow black rhino in flight along with its dependent calf. The mother rhino had obvious gunshot wounds and was running from the poachers, so the BDF took cover and waited for the poachers to appear. Upon seeing the BDF officers, the poachers fired at them, at which time the BDF returned fire, killing both of the poachers. The BDF recovered a .375 rifle from the scene.
The cow rhino was found dead a short distance from the scene of the confrontation. The young calf, having survived the incident, was captured and taken to a secure area where it will be nursed and looked after for as long as necessary for it to be able to survive on its own.
About the Author:Joe Coogan spent his younger years living in Kenya, East Africa, with his family during the 1960s and 1970s. As an avid hunter, shooter and outdoorsman, his early Kenya experience prepared him for safari work for many years as a professional hunter (PH) in Botswana and Tanzania. In 1972, Coogan earned a degree in journalism from the University of South Florida, returning to Africa to work for the renowned safari firm Ker, Downey & Selby (KDS) Safaris. He joined its Botswana operation under the leadership of the renowned Harry Selby and earned his PH license under Selby’s guidance. Coogan conducted hunting safaris in Botswana for KDS Safaris and Safari South for the next 20 years. In 1991, he joined the editorial staff ofPetersen’s Hunting,relocating to Los Angeles. In 2001, following a three-year stint in Arkansas managing a wildlife project, he returned to Africa when he joined Arusha-based Tanzania Game Tracker Safaris (TGTS), conducting hunting and photographic safaris in Tanzania for the next five years. In 2006, Coogan joined Benelli USA as its brand marketing manager, hosting its popular "Benelli On Assignment" outdoor TV show for six years. Today, he is a field editor for the NRA’s American Hunterand travels between his home state of Florida and Botswana, arranging and conducting safaris throughout Africa.