By Jamie Smith
A rare black rhino who was famed for blowing a kiss to the camera has been slaughtered by poachers.
Ruthless killers hacked off his horn and amputated his tail, ears and feet – just days after poachers killed a rhino in a zoo near Paris.
The loveable rhino, called Wozani, lived on a game reserve near the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Two groups of poachers targeted the reserve over the weekend, but while one group were successfully deterred, a second group went unnoticed and targeted the rhino.
Images of Wozani pouting went round the world last year.
Photographer Sue Harwood, from Johannesburg, paid tribute to her ‘famous friend’, saying she was ‘sickened’ by the brutal killing.
She said: “I was physically ill and moved to tears when I found out about Wozani this morning.
“He was so friendly and gave us the gift of many really close encounters with him and I am totally heartbroken.
“R.I.P. darling boy.”
On Tuesday last week (March 7), a white rhino was shot dead by poachers who broke into a Parisian zoo.
Four-year-old Vince was shot in the head three times and had his horn hacked off with a chainsaw.
Rhinos are often slaughtered for their ivory horns, which can fetch hundreds of thousands of pounds on the black market.
Sue reckons Wozani’s foot and tail were also amputated to ‘prove’ he was a wild rhino, which makes him more valuable.
She added: “Not only were his horns hacked off by the poachers, but his tail, ears and one of his feet was also amputated.
“No doubt this was to prove the horns are from a rare black rhino who has been killed – a product that will now be perceived to be of superior quality and have more medicinal power.”