Johannesburg - The latest Environmental Affairs figures have confirmed a total of 588 rhinos have been lost to poaching since the beginning of 2012.Tourism Update reports The Kruger National Park has lost 362 rhinos to poaching. The North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces continue to be the hardest hit by poachers, collectively accounting for the loss of 186 rhinos.SANParks has announced the graduation of 30 new Armed Field Rangers in an effort to combat the scourge. The rangers completed a six-week course that is part of the Expanded Public Works Programme.“The main reason for training the Field Rangers is to complement the parks existing staff for area integrity management in various national parks. They will be a support to conservation staff and perform duties that will enable SANParks field rangers to attend to critical functions such as law enforcement,” said Antoinette van Wyk, SANParks General Manager: Infrastructure & Special Projects, Parks Division.The programme, which started in 2011, creates jobs for unemployed people from communities bordering national parks, while SANParks is gaining additional capacity to assist with vital conservation activities within these parks.“The passing-out of these 30 Armed Field Rangers will step up the crime-fighting ability against poachers and give invaluable support to the men and women working on the ground,” said Van Wyk.A total of 246 people have been arrested this year; 217 poachers, 18 couriers and 11 receivers.Members of the public are being urged to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and prevention of illegal killings, to 0800 205 005. Come join the News24 Travel community on Facebook and Pinterest or follow us on Twitter, otherwise subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more useful travel updates.