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Johannesburg - The number of rhino poachers arrested in South Africa this year has reached 167, the environmental affairs department said on Thursday.
“The increase in arrests comes as the total number of rhino poached in South Africa since January 2013 has increased to 587,” the department said.
“The Kruger National Park remains hardest hit, having lost 362 rhino to poachers so far this year.”
Of the total number of rhino poached, 60 were killed for their horns in both the North West and KwaZulu-Natal, 59 in Limpopo and 39 in Mpumalanga.
The department said government would intensify its efforts in the fight against rhino poaching with stronger international relations. It had drawn up and negotiated a number of international memorandums of understanding and was in negotiations with countries like Mozambique.
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and Mozambique's Tourism Minister Carvalho Muaria agreed in June to a follow up a meeting between South Africa and Mozambican officials to discuss enforcement, environment, and tourism.
“The meeting is to be held in preparation for a further more comprehensive ministerial engagement with Mozambique,” the department said.
“The parties will also be discussing comprehensive measures regarding common areas of action to be taken jointly by the countries, and possibly other parties involved in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park.”
This was aimed at combating poaching and the illegal trafficking of rhino horn, elephant tusks and other wildlife related products, with the meeting expected to culminate in an agreement between the two countries.
Poaching was also receiving more attention within the justice, crime prevention, defence and security council of the Southern African Development Community, facilitated by the SA National Defence Force.