Rhino killings rise to 227

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pretoria - Since the beginning of the year, a total of 227 rhinos have been lost to illegal killings.

According to the latest statistics from the Department of Environmental Affairs, the highest number of killings was at the Kruger National Park, with137 rhinos - which accounts for more than half of the total rhino killings that have taken place this year.

This was followed by Limpopo province with 31; the North West and KwaZulu-Natal each have lost 23 rhinos.

However, authorities are fighting back. About 148 people have been arrested for rhino poaching thus far.

According to the department, of the148 arrests made, 131 were at the level of poacher, 10 were receivers/couriers, six couriers/buyers and one was an exporter.

Mpumalanga has the most arrests with 44, followed by the Kruger National Park with 38; Limpopo had 19 arrests, North West 16, Gauteng 14 and KZN 10 arrests.

Government, working with other law enforcement agencies, has beefed up their efforts by deploying members of the South African National Defence Force along various borders.

South Africa earlier this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China and Vietnam, which will be used to keep track of illegally exported rhino horns.

A crime line has been established to improve the level of cooperation with the public as well as make access for would-be informers much easier.

South Africans can report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and prevention of illegal killings to 0800 205 005.

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