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Interpol assisting SA in fight against poaching syndicates

Over 1,000 rhino have been killed in South Africa this year.

FILE: The Environmental Affairs Department says it's working closely with Interpol to crush international rhino poaching syndicates. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Environmental Affairs says it's working closely with Interpol in a bid to crush international rhino poaching syndicates.

The department says the rise in poaching is due to high demand of rhino horn in Asian countries where they're believed to have medicinal properties.

Department spokesperson Albie Modise has confirmed 1,020 rhino have already been killed this year, that's 16 more compared to 2013.

But he says increased operations and security at nature reserves has led to over 340 arrests this year.

"We are paying a heavy price in this country because we are part of the global village and we also need to make sure that although our interventions are locally driven, it must also be linked to international efforts as well."

He says poaching is a crime driven by international syndicates.