Pretoria — The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism says at least 32 rhinos have been poached in South Africa since the beginning of the year.
This, according to the department, brings to 18 the number of rhinos poached in the Kruger National Park for their horns. Six rhinos were poached in the North West and five in KwaZulu-Natal since the beginning of the year.
The Kruger National Park figures includes carcasses of rhinos killed in 2012, but were only discovered recently due to thick bush.
Anti-poaching efforts have resulted in 13 arrests this year. Six of the arrests were made in the Kruger National Park during two successful operations, despite serious flooding, this past weekend.
On Friday special operations team members and rangers arrested two alleged poachers in the Pafuri region, confiscating 375 high calibre hunting rifle and poaching equipment.
Four more poachers were arrested in the Tshokwane and Nwanedi areas. Two of the suspects, who had been chased with the help of air support, managed to flee to Mozambique.
Three rhino horns, a firearm and poaching equipment were confiscated. During the follow-up investigation, two rhino carcasses were found with their horns removed.
The department said in 2010, 146 rhinos were killed at the Kruger National Park; 252 in 2011, and 424 in 2012.
In Gauteng in 2010,15 rhinos were killed, nine in 2011, and last year only one rhino was killed.
In Limpopo in 2010, 52 rhinos were killed, 74 in 2011, 59 in 2012 and two this year.
In Mpumalanga in 2010, 17 rhinos were killed, 31 in 2011 and one in 2012.
In the North West in 2010, 57 rhinos were killed, 21 in 2011, 77 in 2012 and this year six.
In the Eastern Cape, four rhinos were killed, 11 in 2011, seven in 2012, and no rhinos were killed this year.
In the Free State in 2010, thee rhinos were killed and four in 2011.
In KwaZulu-Natal in 2010, 38 rhinos were killed, 34 in 2011, 66 in 2012 and five this year.
In the Western Cape no rhinos were killed in 2010, six were killed 2011, two in 2012 and this year no rhinos were killed.
In the Northern Cape in 2010, only one rhino was killed and thereafter no rhinos were killed to date.
South Africans are urged to report any information or tip offs that they may have in relation to rhino poaching to +27 (0)800 205 005.