Efforts to stop illegal rhino killing in South Africa

Tuesday 12 August 2014 15.38
As many as 500 rhinos could be relocated from Kruger National Park in Pretoria
As many as 500 rhinos could be relocated from Kruger National Park in Pretoria

The South African government is taking steps to curb illegal rhino killing, which has spiked dramatically in recent years. 

Hundreds of rhinos are to be evacuated from Kruger National Park in Pretoria as part of a government plan to prevent horn smuggling.

"A decision has been made on this issue of translocation," said Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs.

"Relocations from the Kruger National Park and the creation of rhino strongholds could allow the total rhino population size of South Africa to continue to grow."

The authorities "could relocate up to 500" rhino, which can weigh a tonne or more, said South African National Parks ecologist Sam Ferreira.

The amount of rhinos illegally killed in the famed Kruger National Park has spiked in recent years, from 13 in 2007 to 1,004 last year.

This is despite the deployment of soldiers to the vast nature reserve, which is roughly the size of Wales.

Rhino horns are seen as a status symbol in Asia.

There are thought to be as few as 8,400 white rhino left in Kruger Park.

Now some Rhino will be moved from areas of high poaching activity inside Kruger National Park, such as the eastern boundary, which forms the border with Mozambique.

The alternative strongholds include other state-owned provincial parks, private parks and communal areas.

Neighbouring countries are also being considered as hosts, according to the environmental ministry.