White rhino

Lorry kills two white rhinos in Zambian park

Two rare white rhinos have been killed by a speeding lorry in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in southern Zambia.

One was a young male called Romeo and the other an adult female named Lubinda.

The pair suffered severe injuries when hit on Tuesday night on the Livingstone-Kazungula road that passes through the park.

Lubinda died on the spot. Romeo suffered a suspected fractured spine and he died soon after being sedated for treatment.

According to the WWF, southern white rhinos are classified as “near threatened” after decades of protection and management have boosted their numbers from near extinction.

Zacks Kalembwe, spokesperson for Zambia’s tourism ministry, told the BBC their deaths were a sad event.

“This is a very very unique species that we have,” he said.

“It’s this rareness that brings more tourists to our parks. The rhino species were completely wiped out [in Zambia] during the poaching scourge experienced in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“It is deeply saddening to lose two members of the breeding herd in such a manner.”

The driver of the lorry is in police custody.

Mr Kalembwe said the tourism ministry was in the process of finding ways to protect animals from vehicles in national parks.

The possibility of having speed humps on animal crossing points within parks was under discussion with the road development agency, he added.

The spokesman also appealed to drivers to adhere to speed limits as they drove through national parks.