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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Rhino killers 'posed as tourists'
White rhino
White rhinos have been endangered for many decades
Two suspected rhino poachers have been arrested after posing as tourists, South African officials say.

The men booked into a safari lodge and proceeded to shoot and hack the horns off two endangered white rhinos, according to wildlife authorities.

They are said to have been caught with rhino horns at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in KwaZulu Natal province.

The white rhino has been endangered since early in the 20th century, and its horn fetches high prices.

"It's the first time we've had tourists shooting rhinos," Jeff Gaisford, a spokesman for the reserve, told AFP news agency.

The arrests took place last week, but the authorities reportedly delayed the announcement because of the "sensitive" nature of the information.

The men are believed to be linked to a poaching and smuggling syndicate, and more arrests are expected.

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is home to 1,600 southern white rhinos, out of an estimated total population of about 11,000.


SEE ALSO
Swazi rhino hunts to be permitted
12 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature
White rhino numbers are 'halved'
06 Aug 04 |  Science/Nature

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