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'Rhino poaching remains a massive challenge'

The latest report shows that a total of 749 rhino have been killed in the country during 2015 so far.

A dead juvenile rhino, killed by desperate poachers who did not want to leave the Kruger National Park empty handed. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says rhino poaching remains a massive problem but she added measures are in place to tackle the scourge.

Molewa released the latest rhino poaching statistics on Sunday, showing that, on average, there are 12 groups of poachers operating in the Kruger National Park, at any given time.

A total of 749 rhino have been killed in the country this year so far. Another 544 of the animals were killed in the Kruger Park alone.

Molewa says the latest poaching figures would be far worse were it not for measures taken by her department.

"We've recorded a number of successes due to improved information sharing and part of our game changing interventions that include disrupting criminals syndicate is happening."

She says this includes new night vision equipment, meaning rangers have more advanced weaponry.

"So we're now leveling the plain field. The night vision has become the key opto-electronic technology in more than conflicts that take place in the dark."

Molewa says the numbers also show that the police are playing a vital role in stabalising poaching outside of the Kruger Park.

She says the green scorpions have been permanently deployed at OR Tambo International Airport to detect the trafficking of wildlife products.

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