TWO rhinos have been hit and killed by a speeding truck along the Livingstone-Kazungula road, Tuesday evening, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts.

In a statement released, Wednesday, Ministry public relations officer Sakabilo Kalembwe announced that two rhinos, male and female, were hit and killed by a truck along the Livingstone-Kazungula road.

“The Ministry is saddened to announce the death two rhinos that were hit by a truck along the Livingstone-Kazungula road in the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park last (Tuesday) night. Romeo, a male juvenile and Lubinda, an adult female were killed by a speeding truck of Namibian 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,” Kalembwe stated.

“At the time the rhinos were hit, the mother, Lubinda, was dragged on the side of the tarmac while the calf, Romeo, remained in the middle of the road injured sitting on its hind legs. Efforts were made by park management staff to give treatment on site and called reinforcements 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.”

And Kalembwe announced that the Ministry of Tourism and Arts was currently in the process of drawing up legislation aimed at dealing with road kills in national parks, especially when high value species were involved.

“This will be in consultation with Road Transport Safety Agency and the Ministry of Transport and Communications. 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,” stated Kalembwe.

The rhino species were completely wiped out during the poaching scourge experienced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to Kalembwe.