Poachers killed 1,215 rhinos for their horns in South Africa in 2014, another record loss as the country struggles to protect the animals.
A majority of the pachyderms, 827, were slaughtered in Kruger National Park, a nature reserve the size of Israel that borders on Mozambique, the Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement today in Pretoria. A total of 1,004 were killed throughout the country in 2013.
“The very reason most of the world’s rhino continue to exist in the wild today is because of the efforts of South Africa,” Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told reporters in Pretoria. So far in 2015, 49 rhinos have been poached in South Africa. The country made 386 arrests in 2014.
Rhino horn demand has climbed in Asian nations including China and Vietnam because of a belief that they can cure diseases such as cancer. The price of the horns, more valuable than gold by weight, may range from $65,000 to as much as $95,000 per kilogram in Asia.
In the last quarter of 2014, 56 rhino were moved from poaching hotspots and 100 of the animals were trans-located to neighboring states, the ministry said.
South Africa, which is home to more than 90 percent of world’s white rhinos, set up a protection zone within the Kruger National Park, implemented new equipment, and relocated the animals to safer areas. It’s also considering advocating legalizing global rhino-horn trade. Authorities in 2014 made a record number of arrests for poaching activity.
White rhinos, the bigger of the two types of the animal found in Africa, can weigh more than 2 metric tons. About 40 percent of black rhinos are in South Africa, according to the Save the Rhino charity.
This article was written by Paul Burkhardt from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.