South Africa is losing more than two rhino a day to poachers, with the Kruger National Park still the hardest hit.
The park is home to the single largest population of rhino in the country and has to date this year lost 180 of this Big Five species.
The national loss currently stands at 249. This works out to 2.16 animals a day.
To minimise rhino losses Kruger has, since the start of the year, embarked on a more militaristic approach to anti-poaching operations. This after SANParks chief executive Dr David Mabunda said the country’s premier conservation authority was fighting “a low intensity war” against poachers. The new approach has seen retired SA Army general Johan Jooste called in to head up the overall SANParks anti-poaching operation.
On the provincial level, North West leads the rhino loss tally with 21, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 18, Limpopo with 17 and Mpumalanga with 13.
Arrests in connection with rhino poaching so far this year total 78 with five middlemen, including suspected couriers, behind bars and awaiting trial or court appearances.