SA police seize rhino horn

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South African police intercepted 167 rhino horns apparently destined for south-east Asia, one of the biggest hauls ever in the country.

Two suspects, aged 57 and 61, were arrested with the horns on Saturday, police sai. They were tipped off about the suspects’ vehicle.

“The value has not been determined — it’s one of the biggest hauls in the country,” Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, police spokesman, said. The case was still being investigated.

Almost 80% of the world’s rhinos are in South Africa. More than a thousand rhinos were killed in the country each year from 2013 to 2017, according to conservation group Save the Rhino.

That figure fell below 1,000 in 2018, but more than two rhinos were killed each day of the year. Two rhino species have fewer than 80 animals left in the wild.

Poaching is driven by demand for rhino horn – consisting mostly of keratin, found in human nails and hair – in countries like China and Vietnam, where it is used in traditional medicine and increasingly seen as a symbol of success and wealth.

Government and international donors pour money into anti-poaching measures and securing national parks.

The two suspects were due to appear at a magistrate’s court near Pretoria.