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South Africa reports drop in rhinos killed by poachers

/ 09:04 PM February 14, 2019
South Africa reports drop in rhinos killed by poachers

A black dehorned rhinoceros is followed by a calf at a game reserve in South Africa in 2012; the horn is prized as a cure to cancer, an unproven claim that has contributed to the decimation of the species. Image: AFP/Stephane de Sakutin

JOHANNESBURG — The South African government has reported progress in the fight against rhino poaching.

The environmental affairs ministry said Wednesday that poachers killed 769 rhinos last year, a 25 percent decrease from the number killed for their horns in 2017.

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Authorities attributed the decrease to better security and other nationwide efforts to protect rhinos. The new data showed fewer rhinos killed in most provinces in South Africa, home to most of the world’s rhinos.

However, some conservationists speculate that the killing in past years has reduced poaching opportunities for traffickers.

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Vietnam and China are key illegal markets for rhino horn. Some consumers believe it cures illnesses if ingested in powder form, although there is no evidence that the horn, made of the same substance as human fingernails, has medicinal value. /kga

TOPICS: Africa, animal, Conservation, endangered species, Environment, International news, News, poaching, rhino, rhino horns, rhinoceros, Wildlife, World, World News
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