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Asia fuelling rhino poaching crisis

Africa's rhinos face their worst poaching crisis in decades with sophisticated organised crime syndicates killing more than 800 animals in the past three years, conservationists said yesterday.

The two horns on each rhinoceros sell for high prices on the black market in South-east Asia, where they are believed to have medicinal properties.

Vietnam, where the horn is ground down for medicines, is repeatedly implicated in the South African poaching trade.

The Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature said poaching of the two different species of African rhinos is on the rise in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. South Africa alone lost 333 rhinos last year and has lost more than 70 this year so far, according to IUCN.