Parliament’s portfolio committee on water and environmental affairs held public hearings on Thursday on possible solutions to rhino poaching.
Eleven rhinos have been killed in South Africa since the start of the year, and 448 were killed last year.
South Africa has a rhino population of 22000, which accounts for about 80% of the world’s rhino population, David Mabunda, CEO of South African National Parks, told the National Press Club earlier this month.
At the moment, the country’s rhino population — 22% of which is in private hands — is growing, he said.
However, he warned that if poaching levels continued to climb, there could be a fall in the number of rhino from 2015.
At the same briefing, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said 150 more rangers would be deployed in the Kruger National Park this year to combat rhino poaching. This was in addition to the park’s 500 rangers.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Africa’s rhino population was being exterminated at the rate of an estimated 8000 animals per year.
Rhino horn is valued for dagger handles in Yemen and is prized in traditional medicine in China and Vietnam.
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