The Ministry of Tourism and Arts has announced the death of two rhinos that were hit by a truck along the Livingstone-Kazungula road in the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park on Wednesday night.
Ministry of Tourism and Arts Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe revealed that Romeo, a male juvenile and Lubinda, an adult female were killed by a speeding truck of Nambian registration Number N 12311 WB whose driver totally disregarded road signage and speed limits set in the national park.
The driver of the truck has been identified as Ashes Gumbo aged 37, of Zanimuone in Lusaka.
He is currently in police custody and a docket has since been opened.
At the time the rhinos were hit, the mother Lubinda was dragged on the side of the tarmac while the calf, Romeo remained at the middle of the road injured sitting on its hind legs.
Efforts were made by park management staff to give treatment on sight and called reinforcement from the Victoria Falls Wildlife trust of Zimbabwe who crossed the border in the night in the quest to save the two members of the iconic species.
The two rhinos had severe injuries and despite the quick response by the veterinary team, they did not survive.
Lubinda died a few minutes later as her injuries were severe and little could be done to save her life.
Romeo suffered a suspected fractured spine and hind legs were paralyzed.
He died soon after being sedated for treatment.
Mr Kalembwe said the Department is in the process of drawing up legislation aimed at dealing with matters of road kills in national parks especially when high value species are involved.
He said this will be in consultation with the Road Transport and Safety Agency and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Mr Kalembwe said the Department of National Parks and Wildlife shall also continue engaging the road development agency on the possibility of having speed humps especially on known animal crossing points in the parks.
“We would like to appeal to members of the public to always adhere to the prescribed speed limits as they drive on the trunk roads passing through national parks. The rhino species were completely wiped out during the poaching scourge experienced in the late 80s and early 90s,” he said.
“It is deeply saddening to lose two members of the breeding herd in such a manner. Finally, we would like to thank the Livingstone community both government and members of the public and also the victoria falls veterinary trust of Zimbabwe who came to the aid of the park management team when they reached out for support.”