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South Africa, rangers kill two rhino poachers

Nel Kruger National Park due cacciatori sono morti in uno scontro a fuoco con i ranger del parco.

Kruger National Park, South Africa, is an immense natural reserve home to Africa’s main terrestrial mammals, with the Savannah kept nearly untouched. The park is also home to the world’s largest population of rhinoceroses, fact that sadly turned this beatiful area into the scene of bloody clashes between poachers and rangers protecting wildlife.

 

Rinoceronti bianchi in Sudafrica
South Africa is home to over 80% of the world’s rhino population © Frans Lanting/Corbis

 

Last week, two rhino poachers were killed by the park’s rangers in a gunfight. “There was a shoot-out and two of the three suspected poachers were fatally wounded,” said South African National Parks spokesman William Mabasa, whilst the third suspect escaped.

 

The high demand of rhino horns, mostly in Asia (where people think horns have therapeutic properties), made them reach a high economic value and pushed many people to follow the path of poaching. Poachers operating in Kruger Park mostly come from Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries. Over the past 5 years, Kruger National Park’s rangers have killed about 500 Mozambican poachers.

 

Il parco sudafricano Kruger
Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest natural reserve, extending for about 20,000 square kilometres © Edwin Remsberg/Corbis

 

Poachers are often equipped with heavy weapons, including machine guns, but rangers are allowed to open fire. Despite protection, South Africa is battling a dramatic rhino poaching crisis that could cause the species extinction. Over 1,020 rhinoceroses have been killed in South African parks in 2014 alone, 700 of which in Kruger Park.

 

Ranger del Kruger National Park
Anti-poaching rangers in Kruger National Park © Louise Murray,/Visuals Unlimited/Corbis

 

Rhino slaughters led the government to strengthen the park supervision – currently 4,000 rangers patrol Kruger Park – and to adopt countermeasures, including the preventive cut of rhinos’ horn or move the animals to more safety areas.

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