South Africa arrests two men with 41kg of rhino-horn in anti-poaching operation

This 41 kg of rhino-horns is the largest amount ever seized in South Africa

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The Independent Online

Two Vietnamese men have been arrested in South Africa after they were found in possession of 41 kg of rhino horns, the largest amount ever seized the country.

The two men, their haul believed to originate from South African parks, were due to fly to Hanoi from the capital of neighbouring Mozambique but were arrested during a stop-over in Johannesberg, according to a police statement.

Rhino populations across the southern African continent are being decimated by poaching.

Over 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2013, its worst ever year for poaching. It has been nearly as bad these past 12 months, with 933 rhinos killed.

The country is home to an estimated 20,000 rhinos, more than anywhere else.

 

Last month the death of a northern white rhino in Kenya left the species on the verge of extinction, with only six left in the world.

Wildlife campaigners from Action4Elephants said it is possible that rhinos and elephants could become extinct in the next 20 years if the poaching trade is not effectively cracked down on.

Watch a rhino and lamb make friends
Northern white rhino on the verge of extinction

Like the men arrested in Johannesberg, many of those in the trade come from Asia, particularly Vietnam, where it is believed that the horns can be used for medicinal purposes - treating diseases such as cancer.

Last month a year-long public information initiative in Vietnam claimed to have helped the country's demand for rhino horns by 38 per cent.

Additional reporting by agencies

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