South Africa / Rhino
South Africa / Rhino
Poachers have killed a record number of rhinos in South Africa this year despite continued efforts to stop the illegal killings.

South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs says poachers have killed 455 rhinos during 2012, surpassing the 448 recorded during 2011.

The majority of the killings occurred in Kruger National Park, one of Africa's largest game reserves.

The poaching is driven by Asian demand for rhino horns, which are widely believed to have healing properties despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

South African park rangers have arrested 207 people for poaching activities this year.  

The country's national parks system also reported the killing of seven poachers in Kruger National Park, the most recent coming on October 6.

Africa was once home to more than a million rhinos.  The animals faced extinction 30 years ago after decades of relentless hunting.  Because of conservation efforts, the number of African rhinos has risen again to about 25,000 continent-wide.