Kruger park crackdown on rhino killing

South Africa is hiring 150 more rangers to try to stop rhinoceros poaching in its flagship Kruger National Park.

Environment minister Edna Molewa made the announcement yesterday. There are already 500 rangers on duty at Kruger.

Last week, rangers found 11 dead rhino in the park, the first poaching deaths of 2012. Last year, a record 448 rhinos were poached in South Africa, more than half in Kruger.

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Growing Asian demand for rhino horn, a purported remedy for various illnesses, is believed to be behind the spike in poaching.

So far, rhino births are keeping up with losses.

Ms Molewa declined to declare a moratorium on rhino hunting, but says that officials will pursue halting issuing permits to hunters from countries that do not have legislation to stop illegal sales of rhino horn.