South Africa is to sign a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam to help tackle the ongoing poaching of rhinos in the country, says the Department of Environmental Affairs.
"South Africa's efforts to address the ongoing poaching of rhino for its horns will be taken to a new level when South Africa signs a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity," the department said in a statement this week.
COP11 is due to take place in Hyderabad, India from 8 to 19 October.
The agreement will cover co-operation between South Africa and Vietnam in the field of biodiversity management, law enforcement, and compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and other relevant legislation.
Vietnam is one of the main transit or consumer countries for rhino horn.
A total of 373 rhinos have been killed by poachers in South Africa since the beginning of this year.
The Kruger National Park has lost 229 rhinos, while the Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and North West provinces continue to be hard hit by poachers, together accounting for the loss of 117 rhinos.
The number of individuals so far arrested in the country in connection with rhino poaching is 199. Of those arrested, 176 are at the level of poacher, while 10 were receivers and 13 couriers.
South Africa is home to approximately 22 000 white and black rhinos, of which 12 000 are found in the Kruger National Park. This represents 93% of the world's total rhino population.
Jail term for poachers welcomed
Meanwhile, Mpumalanga Economic Development, Environment and Tourism MEC Norman Mokoena has welcomed the jail term handed down by the Nelspruit Magistrates Court to two men for rhino poaching.
Geasson Corsa, 35, and Ali Nkuna, 25, were sentenced to 29 years in jail for trespassing, being in possession of hunting rifles and ammunition, and poaching a rhino and its calf.
Passing sentence on Friday, Magistrate Catherine Hugo said the sentence should be a deterrent to other would-be rhino poachers.
The latest conviction follows the 18-year and 10-year sentences given to two rhino poachers by the magistrates' court in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal on 16 August.
South Africans are urged to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests or prevention of illegal poaching to 0800 205 005.
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