South African National Parks (SANParks) revealed that yet another 8 rhinos were found shot and dehorned in the Kruger National Park (KNP) following an intensified patrol in various parts of the National Park on Tuesday, 10 January.
According to SANParks General Manager, Media Liaison & Stakeholder Relations, Reynold Thakhuli all 8 carcasses were found with their horns missing in two sections of the park. Three carcasses were found in Lower Sabie and five in the Pretoriuskop section of the park and were all of adult rhinos.
Although there are a few leads, members of the South African Police Services are working around the clock to get to the bottom of this brutal attack. Investigations are underway.
2011 record high of 443 killed
Last year an estimated 443 rhinos were killed for their horns of which 252 were in the Kruger National Park. More than 100 more than 2010’s countrywide loss of 333 rhinos, up from 24 in 2006.
South Africa is home to almost 90% of the world’s around 22800 rhinos. It is believed that the animals’ gruesome attacks are linked to an increased demand for the horn in Asia, particularly Vietnam and Thailand. In these countries there are people who believe that the horn – made of keratin (the fibrous structure proteins that make up hair and nails) – has medicinal properties, including a cure for cancer.
Thakhuli from SANParks appealed to the public to contact their nearby SAPS if they have any information which can help them speed up the investigation. He said that while the find was disturbing, they are determined to win the war against poachers.
Read more on anti-rhino poaching initiatives in our next issue.