'Alarming' rise in rhino poaching in SA

Rhino poaching had escalated at an “alarming rate” since the beginning of the year, South African National Parks (SANParks) said on Friday.

‘Rhinos are under siege from marauding poachers all over the world. Asia and India are suffering the same trend of these species being driven to near extinction through poaching,” said SANParks CEO David Mabunda in a statement.

He said the country had lost 92 rhinos in 2010, with the Kruger National Park being the hardest hit at 33, followed by North West at 18 and 12 from Gauteng.

Mabunda said the least-hit province had been the Eastern Cape with two rhinos.

He said South Africa had seen an escalating assault on its rhino population in the last three years as it lost 83 rhinos in 2008, a sharp rise from the 13 rhinos lost in 2007.
A total of 122 rhinos was lost in 2009.

“This is the highest level of poaching of rhino horn that has ever been experienced by the country.”

Mabunda said 25 suspected poachers had been arrested, with 17 from the Kruger National Park, five in Gauteng and three in Mpumalanga.—Sapa

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