Rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa (archive image)
EPA / Riaan Kotze / Inkwe Valley Game Lodge / dpa
Rhino poaching in South Africa is picking up again after falling during the 2020 pandemic year.
Environment Minister Barbara Creecy said on Saturday that at least 249 rhinos were killed in the first six months of 2021.
That is at least 83 more than in the same period last year.
In the Kruger National Park, which is popular with tourists, 132 rhinos have already been killed this year.
Apparently because of the strict corona lockdown and the associated restriction of freedom of movement for poachers, the number of rhinos killed because of their horns fell by a third in 2020. "Although the number of rhinos killed because of their horns is higher than the 166 in the same period last year, it is fewer than the 318 poached rhinos in the first six months of 2019," said the Sanparks National Park Authority on Saturday.
In the Kruger National Park alone, with 715 poaching incidents, almost 4 percent more activities were registered than in the same period of the previous year (689 cases).
A total of 125 people across the country have been arrested for poaching or smuggling rhinoceros horn - 20 of whom have already been convicted.
Creecy: "In the fight against poaching and for the preservation of our wildlife, our rangers remain at the forefront and risk their lives anew every day."
High black market prices for horns
Almost 80 percent of all rhinos worldwide live in South Africa.
The poachers are concerned with the animals' horns, which on the black market can reach 55,000 euros per kilogram.
sol / dpa / afp