Park rangers killed three alleged poachers last week in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
The past week was filled with shootouts between rangers and poachers resulting in one poacher killed on Monday, three wounded and arrested on Wednesday and two other poachers killed on Thursday and six escapees in total.
“There is definitely an increase compared to previous months in the number of poachers coming into the Kruger park,” said park spokesman Paul Daphn. “It’s not unusual for this time of year.”
Daphn explain how poachers are increasingly active during November and December and usually work less during Christmas and New Year’s time. Some rangers refer to this phenomenon as the poachers’ “Christmas shopping”.
Over 1000 rhinos have been killed in South Africa so far this year. The Kruger National Park holds the biggest number of deaths with almost 700 rhinos poached in the park in 2014.
“We are fast reaching the tipping point for the future viability of rhinoceros,” said Director Southern Africa for IFAW Jason Bell.
About 350 people involved in rhino poaching were arrested this year. Some 164 of those were arrested in Kruger park, about 30 more than last year.