A brief statement was released on 1 September 2015
It is with deep regret and sadness that we share the news of the death of Tafadzwa Gosho. Tafadzwa, an experienced rhino handler, passed away in the line of duty yesterday, 31st of August 2015. Tafadzwa performed his role with great dedication and courage and was a believer in the power of education to end poaching. Our deepest condolences to his wife Lucia and children Nicholas and Melody. He will be missed by all at Imire. Tafadzwa we salute your bravery and devotion to your job and conservation.
Please see below for the full and updated press release: 2 September 2015.
In the twenty years the Imire rhino breeding programme has been running, this is the first death of a rhino scout, and our close knit community is grieving. Working with wildlife is always a risk, but it does not make the tragedy any easier to deal with.
The rhino responsible for the death of Tafadzwa Gosho is an eight year old male black rhino born on Imire who, up until very recently, has not displayed any aggression. This rhino has recently reached sexual maturity, and, we assume, took his frustration out on the nearest target.
Around 9:15am on Monday 31 August, a fellow rhino handler at Imire did a shift handover of this rhino to Tafadzwa Gosho, and the rhino was calmly browsing and showed no signs of hostility.
At 10:00am the rhino was sighted in a different area of the park. The initial reaction was that the animal had moved ahead of the scout whilst browsing, as sometimes occurs. The rhino was located and moved to a separate, isolated boma (fenced area). Scouts repeatedly radioed Tafadzwa to make a follow up, but could not raise a response. A search began and Tafadzwa’s body was discovered around 4.30pm.
Tafadzwa Gosho was buried on the 2nd of September, and the funeral was attended by many of the Imire community. It is the priority and honour of Imire to ensure that Nicholas and Melody, Tafadzwa’s children, are educated. While working on the contingency plan on how to deal with this particular rhino he will continue to be isolated in his own boma for safety.
We ask that everyone please respect our privacy during this time of mourning. There will be a memorial service held this week, and an updated release will be published on Monday.
We have NOT made any official statements to the media, and we will not be making any further comments, but we would like to say thank you to National Parks, the Police, and the Wedza community for their enduring support and assistance.
This press release was published by the Travers family, Imire, Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe.