MORE rhinos have been killed by poachers this year so far than in the whole of 2010.
To date 376 rhino have been killed compared to 333 in 2010. In 2007 only 13 rhino were killed by poachers, which shot up to 83 in 2008 and 122 in 2009 as the Asian market for rhino horn, mainly in China, expanded into Vietnam, where its use is regarded as a status symbol among wealthy middle-aged men.
The Department of Environment Affairs said yesterday 245 of the rhino had been killed in the Kruger National Park.
These figures were released as the department announced that it had concluded a draft plan with Mozambique of how the memorandum of understanding between the two countries, signed last month, would be implemented.
The two countries have taken several steps since June to try to curb poaching. These included fixing fences along the eastern boundary of Kruger which borders Mozambique, strengthening the buffer zone in Mozambique by establishing the Greater Lubombo Conservancy, the creation of a intensive protection zone in the Limpopo National Park, deploying an armed anti-poaching unit to work with the Kruger team and synchronising operation plans between the Limpopo and Kruger national parks.
The second highest number of rhino poached to date is in the Limpopo National Park, where 39 have been killed this year, followed by parks and reserves in KwaZulu-Natal (37), North West (26), Mpumalanga (12), Eastern Cape (9) Free State (4), Gauteng (3) and Western Cape (1).
The number of arrests of poachers has been steadily increasing.
This year there have been 45 arrests, last year there were 133; 73 in 2012; 82 in 2011 and 67 in 2010.
The department has urged anyone with information about poaching or rhino horn smuggling to telephone the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005 or 0860 10111 or CrimeLine on 32211