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S. Africa Seeks Vietnam, Mozambique Help as Rhino Poaching Soars

South Africa said it’s seeking cooperation from Vietnam and Mozambique after the number of Rhinoceroses poached so far this year rose to 150.

More than half of the animals were killed in the Kruger National Park, the Department of Environmental Affairs said in an e-mailed statement today. Ninety arrests related to poaching have been made this year, it said.

South Africa, home to about 93 percent of the world’s rhino population, has asked the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development if they can conduct inspections and verify that the white rhino trophies exported from South Africa to Vietnam are still in the possession of the hunters. This follows an investigation by the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit, the department said.

There has been growing demand for rhino horns in Asia, where they are used for their supposed medicinal properties, including as a purported cure for cancer.

Environment Minister Edna Molewa has also met with Mozambique’s Minister of Tourism Fernando Sumbana to discuss rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park, where the two countries share a border. Mozambique is currently “pondering legislation that will elevate the offense of wildlife poaching to a criminal offense carrying heavier sentencing rather than the current offense of damage to property,” according to the department. Mozambique has also formed a national anti-poaching unit.

Last year a record 448 rhinoceroses were poached in South Africa.

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