Suspected rhino poacher shot dead in South Africa

Fri May 11, 2012 11:50am GMT
 

JOHANNESBURG May 11 (Reuters) - A suspected rhino poacher was shot dead in South Africa's flagship Kruger National Park on Friday and two others were arrested after they killed a mother and her calf, police said.

South Africa is grappling with a surge of rhinos being killed for their horns, which are worth more than their weight in gold due to rising demand in Asia where they are used in traditional medicine.

The poacher was killed in a shoot-out with a patrol that included park rangers, police and the South African military, the police said in a statement.

"The team also recovered four fresh rhino horns, a hunting rifle and an axe from the poachers," the statement said.

Since January of this year, more than 210 rhinos have been killed by poachers in South Africa, with 130 in Kruger alone, according to official data.

If current rates continue, at least 600 rhinos will be poached this year, far more than the 448 killed in 2011.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Jon Herskovitz)

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