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31 Jul 2015

Free State winning fight against rhino poachers

Free State Public Works and Infrastructure MEC Sam Mashinini told the provincial legislature on Thursday the province was doing well in its fight against rhino poaching.

"Of the more than 1 000 rhino poached in South Africa last year, only nine were in the Free State," he said.

He said 213 people were arrested in the province for rhino poaching in the last five years, and 147 cases had been successfully prosecuted.

"About 673 rhino DNA samples were taken in the Free State and handed in at a database in Onderstepoort," Mashinini told fellow MPLs.

"We have intensified the process to protect endangered species and are having success.
Only four northern white rhino remain on earth after a 31-year-old female named Nabire died in the Czech Republic late on Monday, zookeepers said.

The animal born at Dvur Kralove zoo in the country's north died from complications of a ruptured cyst, the zoo said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Her death is a symbol of the catastrophic decline of rhinos due to a senseless human greed. Her species is on the very brink of extinction," said zoo director Premysl Rabas.

The northern white rhinoceros has been nearly wiped out by hunting and poaching for their horns, and by wars in Africa, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

The four remaining rhinos include Nola, an elderly female living at a zoo in San Diego, and Sudan, an elderly male living with two females, Najin and her daughter Fatu on the Ol Pejeta reserve in Kenya.

The Ol Pejeta rhinos were shipped from the Czech zoo in 2009 in the hope that the natural environment would encourage breeding. That hope has faded.

Dvur Kralove is the world's only zoo to have succeeded at the captive breeding of the rare rhino.

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