Eight dead rhinos found in S.Africa's Kruger

11th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

Eight dehorned rhino carcasses have been found in South Africa's Kruger National Park, in a poaching attack blamed on gunmen who slipped across the Mozambican border, a park spokesman said Wednesday.

Officials made the gruesome discovery Tuesday near the border, said spokesman Reynold Thakuli.

"Three were found in the Pretoriuskop section and five in the lower Sabie region of the Kruger Park," he told AFP. "All of them had been shot with AK-47s. The wounds were fresh."

"It looks like the guys came in from Mozambique and went back into Mozambique."

Kruger, South Africa's most famous national park, lies on the border with Mozambique, where more relaxed policing means poachers can move around more easily.

Around 450 rhinos were poached in South Africa last year, 252 of them in Kruger.

The dramatic spike in rhino killings -- up from 13 in 2007 -- has been driven by demand for its use in Asian traditional medicine, especially in China and Vietnam, where it is believed to cure cancer despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

Rhino horns are made of the same substance as human fingernails.

South Africa's army has been called in to police the Kruger National Park in the north, but authorities have struggled to stop poaching syndicates that use helicopters, night vision equipment and high-powered rifles to hunt their prey.


© 2012 AFP

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