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Number of poached rhinos in S. Africa keeps rising

18th July 2012 | 1.897 Views
Number of poached rhinos in S. Africa keeps rising
Photo document of rhinos in South Africa. (REUTERS/Rogan Ward)
Cape Town (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - The number of rhinos poached in South Africa since the beginning of this year now stands at 281, the Department of Environmental Affairs announced on Tuesday (July 17).

The Kruger National Park continues to bear the brunt of rhino poaching, losing a total of 164 rhinos to illegal killings, the department said in a statement.

Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces continue to be targeted by poachers, accounting for 110 of the total rhinos poached since the beginning of this year, said the statement.

Thus far, a total of 176 arrests have been made of which 153 are at the level of poachers; 10 receivers or couriers; six couriers or buyers and seven exporters.

Authorities warn that if the scurge is not contained, the number of rhinos killed this year would surpass that of last year when 448 rhinos were poached countrywide, 252 of these in the Kruger National Park.

The South African government has appealed to the public to assist in fighting rhino poaching. A hotline has been set up for the public to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and prevention of illegal killings.

Growing demand for rhino horns in world market, Asia in particular,has been blamed for the recent upsurge in rhino poaching in South Africa.