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Nine Rhinos Killed By Poachers In Less Than Two Months At Pilanesberg National Park

Nine Rhinos Killed By Poachers In Less Than Two Months At Pilanesberg National Park

Poaching rhinos is something we know about but don't hear enough about. Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa deals with this problem on a daily basis.

The park, with more than 7,000 animals, has lost a staggering total of nine rhinos in eight weeks, which is less than two months.

Amongst the rhinos, an old carcass was found, which would have been the 10th rhino carcass in Pilanesberg this year.

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The rhino horn is what results in the breed being poached, with countries believing it is an important ingredient for some medicines.

It is also estimated that rhinos could become extinct in just over 10 years (or less) if poaching continues at national parks like Pilanesberg.

Credit: Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust

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Perry Dell, Marketing and PR Manager from Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust, told LADbible: "For the year, we have lost 16 plus three foetuses - that we are aware of.

"This is extremely high for us and we are devastated by the terrible losses to Pilanesberg."

In 2012, 668 rhinos were poached in South Africa. In January 2013, the number rose to 946. That is poaching at a rate of two per day.

The current rate is nearly three rhinos being killed every day; that's 1,054 rhinos last year.

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Credit: Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust

"We can only advise on carcasses found," said Dell. "The terrain is not open or flat. Visibility even from the air is challenging in some parts of the park."

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In September, a rhino and her calf fell victims to the scourge of poaching in the national park.

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Pilanesberg National Park and Wildlife Trust's Facebook page read: "A mum and calf. Side by side. Killed mercilessly for their worthless horn.

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"Sick beings who do not belong on this fair planet. May you die a similar death. We are heartbroken."

In October, one older carcass and two freshly poached rhinos were found 'murdered' at the park but the poachers got away, leaving with a single horn from the pair.

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Another incident occurred in November, as another pregnant rhino and her calf were shot and killed by poachers.

This time, horns were still intact as the 'murderers' fled the scene shortly after.

In the last decade, more than 7,245 African rhinos have been lost to poaching, according to Save the Rhino. It is the fifth most profitable illicit trade, ranking behind drug and weapons trading.

Credit: Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust

When asked how to prevent the act of poaching in the future, Dell said: "Creating awareness that there is no value in rhino horn except for the rhino.

"The demand is so high, and will increase if made available for legal trade. This is my personal belief. More, and easier, accessibility means more users.

"It would be great if people put their money where their mouth is, and support the anti-poaching effort with whatever resources they have.

"It's heartbreaking and we feel so helpless," Dell added.

Words by Ash Howson. Video by Lauren Bones.

Topics: Extinct, World News, south africa, rhino

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