The mutilated carcass of a female white rhino, who had given birth just months ago, lay rotting on a hill beside a road that meanders through South Africa's Kruger National Park.
Insects feasted on the 18-year-old animal, whose horns had been cut off, causing a foul smell to fill the humid air.
"We found one .458 casing and it seems like there is a bullet inside the carcass. There's nothing else left here," said Frik Rossouw, a senior investigator in South African National Parks (SANParks) service.
"As you can see the hyenas and vultures have done their thing."
Rangers found her 10-week-old calf cowering nearby and airlifted it to a nearby sanctuary.
"It was so small it could fit in the back seat of the chopper," Rossouw told AFP.
Rhinos have been hunted to near extinction since the early 2000s with demand for their horns fuelled by Asian consumers who believe the keratin has medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities.
It fetches up to $60,000 per kilo (23,000 euros a pound) on the black market.
SHOT AT NIGHT
The rhino was the fourth to be killed in recent weeks in Kruger -- the jewel in the crown of the nation's tourist appeal.
Barely a mile away from