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The carcass of the first rhino killed for its horns in 2013 was found in the Madikwe Game Reserve, the North West environmental affairs department said on Monday.
“I can confirm that a rhino has died and was found on Saturday evening in the reserve,” spokeswoman Dumisa Seshabela said.
“It was confirmed as rhino poaching on Sunday. Both the horns of the bull were removed. The cause of death was a shot near the front of his neck.”
Seshabela said no arrests had been made and investigations continued. Further information was not available.
On December 19, the national environmental affairs department said a total of 633 rhinos were killed for their horns in 2012.
The Kruger National Park has lost 395 rhinos to poaching. The North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces continue to be the hardest hit by poachers, collectively accounting for the loss of 197 rhinos.
In 2011, 252 rhinos were killed for their horns in Kruger National Park. The number was at 74 in Limpopo. North West was at 21 while KwaZulu-Natal was at 34.
On December 31, President Jacob Zuma said South Africans needed a society free from abuse and violence, as well as one where animals, especially rhinos, were safe from poachers. - Sapa