The World celebrated the fourth annual World Rhino Day this year with the aim to create international awareness about the danger that rhinos face from poachers.
The theme of this year’s World Rhino Day was Five Rhino Species Forever.
A total of 688 rhino have been killed for their horns in South Africa this year alone despite officials putting up a strong fight against poaching, while 219 poachers have been arrested.
SANParks Chief Executive, Dr David Mabunda, said: “We hold 80 percent of the rhinos for the world; we are calling upon the whole world to support us in fighting the scourge of rhino poaching.
Dr Mabunda said poaching makes South Africans poorer as it drains resources aimed at conservation, threatens the livelihoods of millions of people and most importantly denies humanity of a spiritual experience.
The arrests of suspected poachers for 2013 are at 219 for the country and 79 for the Kruger National Park.
In the past ten days 25 alleged poachers have been arrested countrywide, 14 of them in Limpopo.
Among those arrested is one of the most wanted poachers in the Kruger National Park.
The use of rhino horn as a symbol of status among wealthy urban Vietnamese has been identified as a major driver of the current rhino poaching crisis.
“Rhino horn consumers are wealthy and powerful and as such are seen as influential people within Vietnamese society,” says Dr Jo Shaw, World Wildlife Fund South Africa (WWF-SA)’s Rhino Co-ordinator. – SAnews.gov.za