By Jon Herskovitz
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The number of rhinos killed by poachers has hit a new annual record in South Africa, raising worries of a downward population spiral in a country that is home to almost all of Africa’s rhinos.
As of the end of September, 704 rhinos had been killed by poachers in South Africa, exceeding the annual record of 668 set in 2012, according to data provided by the Environmental Affairs ministry on Tuesday.
If the trend keeps at its current pace, more than 1,000 rhinos would be killed in 2014, putting the species on the brink of a population decline that the ministry has said could lead to the end of wild rhinos in about a decade.
The greatest threat to the estimated 22,000 rhinos in South Africa comes from those trying to cash in on the black market value of their horn, which sells at…
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