Rhino death toll continues to spiral

2013-06-07 19:13
(Picture: Beeld)

(Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The number of rhino poached since the beginning of the year has risen to 394, environmental affairs said on Friday.

The total poached up to the end of last month was 367.

Spokesperson Albi Modise said the Kruger National Park (KNP) remained the hardest hit, with 257 rhino killed in the park since 1 January this year.

"In North West, 46 rhino have been poached, while 35 have been killed in KwaZulu-Natal, 28 in Limpopo, 25 in Mpumalanga, two in the Eastern Cape, and one in Gauteng."

Modise said three suspected rhino poachers were arrested on Thursday, bringing the number of rhino poaching-related arrests this year to 117.

The three were arrested in the Tshokwane region of the KNP in possession of firearms and axes.

Of the 117 arrested, Modise said 53 were suspected poachers arrested in the park, and five were alleged couriers.

He said Letaba section ranger Andrew Desmet, who was shot in the stomach during an operation to arrest rhino poachers nearly two weeks ago, was still recovering in hospital.

The department urged South Africans to call 0800 205 005 to report rhino poaching incidents.

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