South Africa park expert says rhino poaching is escalating; investigations underway

By Tshego Letshwiti, AP
Friday, May 28, 2010

Rhino poaching in South Africa rising, expert says

JOHANNESBURG — The head of the South African National Parks (SANParks) says that rhino poaching in the country has escalated at a rapid rate in the last three years.

David Mabunda, chief executive officer at SANParks, said in a press release Friday that rhinos are currently “under siege” from poachers around the world. He said 2008 brought the first alarming spike in poaching with 83 rhinos lost compared to only 13 in 2007.

South Africa lost 122 rhinos in 2009, the highest level of rhino poaching the country has experienced. Mabunda said figures for 2010 now stand at 92 and will likely rise despite strong efforts to save the animals.

Mabunda said the SANParks crime unit will work with local police and anti-poaching units and prosecutors to investigate the issue and combat the situation.

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