Rhino horn poaching reaching ‘tipping point’

A team of experts has been tasked to come up with solutions to the poaching crisis.

FILE: A dead rhino at the Finfoot Lake Reserve. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Environmental Affairs Ministry on Wednesday said the threat against South Africa's rhino population was nearing a tipping point.

More than 1,000 rhino were poached last year, almost double the number in 2013 when 668 of the animals were killed.

The department has now tasked a team of experts to come up with solutions to the poaching crisis.

South Africa lost a record 1,215 rhino to poaching last year.

The figure has been rising steadily over the years, with close to 670 rhino killed in 2013 and almost 450 in 2012.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has set up a committee of inquiry to crack down on the scourge.

Molewa says one of the proposals the panel will interrogate is legalising the trade in rhino horn.

"The proposal is to sell the stock piles of rhino horn and the money will go into the conservation efforts."

The committee will reveal its findings in October next year.