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Rhino poaching continues in South Africa despite efforts to stop it

June 12, 2012

Rhino poaching has been a major problem in South Africa for many years, and recently the number of rhinos being killed by poachers has skyrocketed. Government officials and conservationists have tried a number of strategies to curb poaching, including military response and preemptively dehorning rhinos, but the death toll is still rising.

In 2010, 333 rhinos were slaughtered for their horns and 2011 saw 448 of these creatures fall victim to illegal hunting. The most recent numbers indicate 245 rhinos have been killed already this year, according to the AFP. The numbers are even more staggering when compared to the 13 rhinos that were brought down by poachers in 2007.

Law enforcement officials have arrested 138 poachers, and 23 couriers, exporters and buyers who had been facilitating the export and sale of illegally acquired rhino horns, AllAfrica reports. On the black market, horns can sell for as much as $62,700.

The South African National Parks is making efforts to involve officials from other nations in the fight against illegal poaching and the international sale of rhino horns. They are also asking those who may know anything about poaching, whether they have spotted poachers in the area or have information about the black market sale of horns, to contact authorities to help save the creatures.

The AFP reports South Africa is home to about 20,000 rhinos - between 70 and 80 percent of the world's rhino population - and poaching poses a serious threat to the species. Those who want to discuss the situation can make calls to South Africa with phone cards to talk to their friends.

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