A policeman and a ranger in South Africa have killed each other during a patrol to deter would be rhino poachers. The incident occurred at Kruger National Park, the largest of the country’s 19 national parks, on 28th April as the policeman was carrying out the patrol with a soldier in the Tshokwane area of the park, a known poaching hot spot, close to the border with Mozambique. The gunman opened fire on the policeman killing him before he himself was shot dead by another member of the patrol. According to Colonel Vishnu Naidoo, a police spokesman, this is the first time a policeman has been killed in the course of carrying out such duties. It has emerged from recent cases that some poachers enlist the help of experts, including rangers, who know the area, to help track and kill the animals. The number of rhinos illegally killed in South Africa has seen a sharp increase in recent years, driven by the high demand for their horns in Asia, particularly in Vietnam. Figures released by the South African government show that no fewer than 181 rhinos have been killed since January in this year alone. In 2011 there were 448 illegal rhino killings, following on 333 in 2010 and 122 in 2009. However, only 113 suspected poachers have been arrested.

For more information on Kruger National Park please visit: www.krugerpark.co.za