Rhino wars not over: WWF

File: The WWF says syndicates implicated in rhino poaching must be punished severely to send a strong message to others. Photo: Facebook / San Diego Zoo

JOHANNESBURG - The World Wide Fund for Nature says it is too early to celebrate the decline of rhino poaching.

South Africa on Monday announced there was a slight drop in rhino poaching figures.

The number of rhinos poached last year declined by 10-percent, compared to 2015.

The organisation says it's concerning that at least three rhinos are poached daily in South Africa.

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A total of 1,054 rhino were poached last year, compared to 1,175 the previous year.

The Environmental Affairs Department says the Kruger National Park recorded a decline in rhino poaching, despite an increase in the number of illegal incursions.

The WWF says syndicates implicated in poaching must be punished severely to send a strong message to others.

The ministry says an elite anti-poaching unit -- complete with aircraft and sniffer dogs -- is one of the main reasons behind the decline.

More suspected poachers and traffickers were arrested last year - a total of 680. That's up from 317 the year before.

The ministry says it'll continue to work with police and park rangers to stop the heavily armed and well-funded poachers.

eNCA

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