‘SA could lose 1,000 rhino in 2013’

The Kruger National Park has lost 145 rhino since the beginning of 2013.

A dead rhino at the Finfoot Lake Reserve. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Officials at the Kruger National Park on Friday said the existence of thousands of rhino is being threatened by poaching.

In 2012, 668 rhino were killed in South Africa for their horns, with the majority of animals being poached at the park.

Last week, officials from the park announced that rangers killed three suspected poachers during patrols.

But authorities are still concerned at the rate at which the animals are being targeted.

By the end of March, 135 rhino were poached in the Kruger National Park.

Park spokesperson William Mabasa said at least 10 more rhino died since then.

"If you look at the trends, by the end of this year we would have lost 1,000 [rhino in South Africa]."

Mabasa said they were concerned that population growth will soon be cancelled out by the rate of poaching.

He said the South African National Parks (SANParks) stepped up its anti-poaching initiatives in Kruger, but the threat continued to come in from surrounding villages and from across the Mozambican border.

*In the earlier version of this story, William Mabasa was quoted saying "If you look at the trends, by the end of this year we would have lost 1,000 [rhino]." EWN would like to clarify that by "we", Mabasa was referring to South Africa and not the park.