Rhinos killed by poaching in South Africa, 2007-2014. 2014 broke new records for rhino killings, up from just thirteen in 2007. Graphic: The Guardian

By Jeremy Hance
24 November 2014

(mongabay.com) – South Africa has surpassed last year's grisly record for slaughtered rhinos—1,004—more than a month before the year ends. In an announcement on November 20th, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs said that 1,020 rhinos had been killed to date. Rhinos are butchered for their horns, which are consumed as curatives in countries like Vietnam and China despite any evidence that rhino horn has medicinal properties.

In its announcement, the Department of Environmental Affairs stressed the government's new initiatives to combat the poaching scourge.

"South Africa's multi-disciplinary response further includes the creation of an intensive protection zone within the Kruger National Park, the introduction and implementation of new technology, pro-active intelligence, improving national, regional and international collaboration, and translocating rhino to safe areas within South Africa, and in rhino range states," the department said in a statement.

But none of these programs blunted the killing spree which has been rising rapidly since 2007 when just seven rhinos were killed in the country. Today, it takes less than three days on average for seven rhinos to meet their end in the country. [more]

New blood record: 1,020 rhinos killed in South Africa

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