Over 100 rhinos poached in S.Africa in past month

October 25, 2013
An adult white rhino looks on at the Entabeni Safari Conservancy, Limpopo, 300 kms north east of Johannesburg on July 31, 2012. Poachers have killed a record 688 rhinos in South Africa so far this year, more than the entire number slaughtered in 2012, according to figures issued Sunday, World Rhino Day.

Poachers have killed more than 100 rhinos in South Africa over the past four weeks, pushing the death toll so far this year towards 800, official figures showed Friday.

"The number of rhinos poached for their horns in South Africa since January 2013 has increased to 790," the environment ministry said in a statement.

Killings have surged in recent years to feed black market demand in Asia for their horns. In 2007 there were only 13 reported incidents.

Conservationists have warned a surge in rhino poaching for their in South Africa was becoming critical, with the number of rhinos killed set to exceed births, leading to an overall population decline.

The country's renowned Kruger National Park, which borders Mozambique, is worst affected, having lost 476 since January.

Rhino horn, the same matter as human fingernails, is a status symbol in nations like China, Vietnam and Laos where it is believed to have healing or aphrodisiac properties.

South Africa is home to around 80 percent of the world's rhino population, estimated at more than 25,000.

Explore further: S. Africa rhino poaching toll hits record near 700

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