A White Rhino and her calf walk in the dusk light in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa's North West Province April 19, 2012. Elephant and rhino poaching is surging, conservationists say, an illegal piece of Asia's scramble for African resources, driven by the growing purchasing power of the region's newly affluent classes. In South Africa, nearly two rhinos a day are being killed to meet demand for the animal's horn, which is worth more than its weight in gold. Picture taken April 19, 2012. To match Feature AFRICA-POACHING/ REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)

Pretoria - Rhinos in South Africa have been named the 2012 newsmaker of the year by the National Press Club in Pretoria.

“The onslaught on these African giants has not only resulted in much debate in the country and elsewhere in the world, but has also united people to rally behind campaigns against the bleeding of our heritage,” press club chairwoman Antoinette Slabbert said in a statement on Friday.

Rhino poaching had constantly been in the news and evoked strong emotions, she said.

“History was made last year. A record number of 668 rhinos were poached, a harsh sentence of 40-years for a kingpin in the poaching industry was handed down and an international accord to try and stop poaching was signed.”

Slabbert said it was critical for governments, companies, individuals and the media to take action to stop the killing of rhinos. - Sapa