South Africa reports drop in rhinos killed by poachers

JOHANNESBURG (AP) " South Africa says poachers killed 1,054 rhinos in the country last year, a 10.3 percent drop from 2015.

The environmental affairs department on Monday attributed the decrease to increased security and other measures designed to thwart the poaching of rhinos in South Africa, home to most of the world's rhinos. Their horns are coveted in parts of Asia, especially Vietnam.

The department says poachers killed 46 elephants in the flagship Kruger National Park in 2016, an increase in an area that was mostly unaffected by the Africa-wide slaughter of elephants.

TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring group, welcomes the rhino poaching drop but says the number of killed animals remains "unacceptably high."

The group says early data indicates that rhino poaching is also down in Namibia and other African countries.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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