281 rhinos killed by poachers in S. Africa this year

Jul 17, 2012
A nine-month-old rhinoceros pictured at the animal orphanage of the private Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in Krugersdorp, north of Johannesburg, in July 2010. Poachers in South Africa have killed 281 rhinos so far this year, with the world-famous Kruger National Park accounting for over half the killings, authorities said Tuesday.

Poachers in South Africa have killed 281 rhinos so far this year, with the world-famous Kruger National Park accounting for over half the killings, authorities said Tuesday.

"The has lost a total of 164 rhinos to illegal killings," the environment department said in a statement.

With roughly 20,000 rhinos, South Africa is home to up to 80 percent of the .

But the country has seen a devastating increase in poaching in recent years as black-market demand for rhino horn has grown.

Last year poachers killed 448 , up from 333 in 2010 and just 13 in 2007. Heightened security measures have failed to stop the criminal syndicates that officials say are responsible for the killing.

The animals' distinctive horns are hacked off to be smuggled to the lucrative Asian black market, where the fingernail-like substance is falsely believed to have powerful healing properties.

On the black market, the horns are worth their weight in gold.

Soldiers and specialist investigators have been deployed to Kruger to battle the poachers. Police have arrested 176 suspects including 153 while the others were classified as exporters, couriers or buyers.

Explore further: Fish experience heart failure as water temperature rises

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

S.African rangers kill poachers in Kruger park

Jan 12, 2012

Authorities have killed two suspected poachers, arrested two others and found 11 rhino carcasses in the same area of South Africa's Kruger National Park in one week, a spokesman said Thursday.

South Africa rhino poaching hits record: WWF

Nov 03, 2011

Rhino poaching in South Africa has hit a new record high, with 341 of the animals lost to poachers so far this year as black-market demand for rhino horn soars, wildlife group WWF said Thursday.

Africa's last rhinos threatened by poaching

May 07, 2012

Decades of conservation efforts to save rhinos are coming undone, as surging demand for their horns in Asian traditional medicine has spawned a vast criminal trade powered by poaching.

Hornless rhino carcasses found in S.Africa

Nov 19, 2010

South African wildlife officials have found 18 rhino carcasses dumped by poachers in a remote area with their horns removed, a spokesman for the northern province of Limpopo said Friday.

Recommended for you

Saving seeds the right way can save the world's plants

7 hours ago

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world's most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks ...

User comments : 0