Johannesburg - No rhino hunting permit requests have been received from Vietnam, Thailand or China since the government tightened hunting requirements in April, Beeld reported on Wednesday.

These Asian countries were allegedly the main consumers of rhino horn, the environmental affairs department told the newspaper in a statement.

The criteria for the issuing of permits were changed in April, to allow local authorities to determine whether applicants were bona fide hunters.

They also had to consider whether hunters' countries of origin had legislation in place to ensure hunted animals would be used as trophies.

The department reportedly recommended to all conservation authorities that hunting permits for white rhinos be refused to all Vietnamese citizens until Vietnamese authorities had confirmed in writing that rhino trophies exported to Vietnam since 2010 were still in the hunters' possession.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) management authorities in Vietnam had notified South African authorities that they were busy with that process.

Beeld reported that nearly 270 rhinos had been slaughtered in South Africa since the beginning of 2012. - Sapa