Published July 17, 2012
JOHANNESBURG – South Africa says 281 of the country's endangered rhinoceros have been killed by poachers in the first six months of the year.
The Environment Department said Tuesday that the huge Kruger National Park adjacent to neighbors Mozambique and Zimbabwe was the worst hit, losing 164 rhinos.
The figures in the midyear review indicate that poaching is still on the rise in South Africa, where 448 rhinos were killed last year, up from 333 in 2010.
The department said 176 people have been arrested since January, 153 of them alleged poachers, with the others being couriers, buyers or exporters.
South Africa is home to some 20,000 rhinos, more than any other country.
Demand for powdered rhino horn has soared in Asia where it is used in traditional medicines and is believed to relieve cancer symptoms.