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November 30 2012

Poachers' trade in rhino horn is 'pushing species into decline'

The killing of rhinoceroses for their horns has soared to record highs in South Africa, with environmentalists now warning that the population of the species risks falling into decline.

South Africa, which is home to more rhinos than any other country, has lost 588 animals to poaching so far this year â against the 448 that were poached in the full 12 months of 2011.

"The figure will rise to 600 â and probably more than that because December is quite a happy month for poachers â a lot of the guards are on leave,'' said Morné du Plessis, chairman of the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa.

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