Johannesburg - A total of 550 rhino have been killed in the Kruger National Park in the past 11 months, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Monday.
During the past five years, more than 1457 rhino had been killed for their horns in the park, she said in a speech prepared for delivery to a meeting of Parliament's environment portfolio committee at the Kruger National Park.
“Rhino poaching poses a threat to South Africa's national security, threatens the country's national heritage and the future of the country's tourism industry,” Molewa said.
The government declared the illegal killing of rhino and trade in rhino horn a national security threat in 2011.
An increase in the number of rhino deaths prompted the government to make R75 million available to SA National Parks for the employment and training of additional rangers for the 2013/14
and 2015/16 financial years.
This figure was announced during Molewa's budget speech last year.
“The South African government is acutely aware of the seriousness and intensity of wildlife crime, specifically rhino poaching,” she said.