Rhino toll at 367

The number of rhino poached since the beginning of the year has reached 367, the environmental affairs department has said.

Spokesman Albi Modise said the majority of these, 247, were killed in the Kruger National Park.

“In the North West province 35 rhino have been poached, 33 in KwaZulu-Natal province, 28 in Limpopo Province, 23 in Mpumalanga province, and one in Gauteng,” he said today.

A total of 114 arrests had been made in connection with rhino poaching, of which 109 were alleged poachers.

SA National Parks spokesman Paul Daphne said the increased number of arrests of suspected poachers in the Kruger was an indication anti-poaching measures were working.

“Among the actions taken in the Kruger National Park to combat rhino poaching have been the adoption of a military stance in tackling rhino crimes, the deployment of an unmanned drone provided by Denel, the deployment of two surveillance aircraft, and the use of tracker dogs,” he said.

On Monday, Kruger game ranger Andrew Desmet was shot in the stomach during an operation to apprehend suspected poachers.

The department said he remained in a stable condition in the intensive care unit at a Nelspruit hospital.

“Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Mrs Edna Molewa, has wished Mr Desmet a speedy recovery,” Modise said.

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