South African leader says nation must unite to save rhinos

AP News
Posted: Nov 01, 2015 8:13 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africans don't want a future where rhinos become extinct and the only rhinoceros they see is on the back of a banknote or postage stamp, South Africa's president said Sunday.

President Jacob Zuma spoke during a visit to the country's Kruger National Park, where poachers have been killing record numbers of rhinos for their horns.

Zuma opened a joint operations center designed to allow police to better coordinate anti-poaching efforts at the park with other government agencies, including the environment ministry. He also oversaw the delivery of a light aircraft that will be used in cross-border, anti-poaching operations in South Africa and neighboring Mozambique; many poachers have entered Kruger park from Mozambique, killing rhinos and then slipping back across the border.

"None of us here want a future where the only rhino we see will be on the back of a banknote or a postage stamp, or in pictures in a library book," Zuma said.

South Africa is home to 22,000 rhinos, which is more than 80 percent of the global rhino population, according to the president.