Poachers have killed 100 rhinoceroses in the past two months in South Africa, authorities said.
“The latest rhino poaching statistics indicate that a total of 381 rhino have been killed since the beginning of this year,” the South African Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement. The number of people arrested in connection with poaching is up to 199.
This year, Kruger National Park has been hit the hardest, with 236 rhinos lost, the department said.
Other than the park, “Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West provinces continue to be the hardest hit by poachers—collectively accounting for the loss of 117 rhinos” this year, the statement reads.
South Africa is home to around 80 percent of the world’s rhino population, with around 20,000 individuals.Poachers kill the animals for their horns, which are usually shipped to the Asian black market. Some believe that the horns have medicinal properties, but such claims have been vehemently dismissed by conservation groups.
The demand for rhino horn has increased in the past five years. There were only 13 known rhino poaching deaths in 2007, but the number jumped to 333 in 2010, according to AFP. Last year, 448 rhinos were killed in South Africa, and this year’s number is likely to surpass that.
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