SO FAR this year, 251 rhinos have been poached across SA, the Department of Environmental Affairs said yesterday.

Spokesman Albie Modise said 170 people had been arrested in connection with the poaching.

Of these, 147 were poachers, 10 were receivers or couriers, six were buyers and seven were exporters.

North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo were the hardest-hit provinces, where a total of 86 rhinos had been poached.

The Kruger National Park has lost a total of 149 rhinos since the beginning of the year.

Figures released last Tuesday showed that 245 rhinos had been killed since the beginning of the year, meaning six rhinos had been poached in the week since.

The department said 448 rhinos were killed last year. – Sapa