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August 22, 2017

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Rhino poaching declines slightly in South Africa

The number of rhinoceroses poached in South Africa from January to June decreased by 13 to 529 compared to the corresponding period last year, Environment Minister Edna Molewa said Monday.

In the country's Kruger National Park, which has traditionally bore the brunt of poaching, the number of rhino carcasses found by rangers went down to 243 from 354.

"(We) are not claiming victory, but we should celebrate successes even when they are small," a statement from the Department of Environmental Affairs quoted Molewa as saying.

Almost the entire wildlife ranger service in South Africa has been converted into anti-poaching units, which are supported by dogs, light aircraft and relevant technology, the minister said.

She also stressed increased efforts by the judiciary and improved international cooperation.

South Africa has an estimated 20,000 rhinoceroses, the largest rhino population in the world. Poachers target rhinos for their horn, which is used in traditional medicine in Asia.

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