JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The South African government says the number of rhinos killed for their horns topped a record 1,000 in 2013, and that three dozen have been poached so far this year.
The department of environmental affairs said in a statement Friday that about 60 percent of the 1,004 rhinos killed last year were poached in Kruger National Park, South Africa’s flagship game reserve. It says 668 rhinos were poached in 2012.
South African officials say 343 people were arrested for offenses related to rhino poaching in 2013, a 30 percent increase over the previous year.
Rhino horn is seen in parts of Asia as a status symbol and a healing agent. There is no evidence that rhino horn, made from the same material as fingernails, is an effective medicine.