Five rhino poachers killed at Kruger Park

Five rhino poachers have been shot dead in the Kruger National Park since Saturday, Beeld reported on Wednesday.

Three were killed in a shoot-out with rangers in the Pretoriuskop area on Tuesday, the newspaper said.

Another two were killed near the Mozambique border in the north on Saturday. Three others fled over the border. Two rhino horns, and a .458 hunting rifle were found.

Beeld reported that “no fewer than ten poachers have been killed in the park over the past five months”.

Some 146 rhinos were shot in the park in 2010, while more than 300 rhinos have been poached nationwide.

Eyewitness News reported that seven people appeared in court on Tuesday on charges of rhino poaching. Police suspect the group are connected to the deaths of at least four rhinos.

Poaching on the rise
Rhino poaching has been on the rise through some African nations as the demand for rhino horn increases, particularly from the Far East for their traditional medicine market.

According to the International Rhino Foundation, rhino poaching reached an all-time high in Africa last year.

Zimbabwean parks and reserves have resorted to cutting off the horns of their resident rhino to keep them safe.

President Jacob Zuma, along with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, pledged to fight against poaching in October last year and announced that priority would go to the training of rangers, as well as the involvement of Interpol and regional security clusters.—Sapa and M&G reporter

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