Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and conservationist Jane Goodall have joined a list of famous names who have signed an open letter to South Africa's government calling for an end to rhino poaching. More than 1,000 rhinos were killed across the country in 2018 for the fifth year running. The international monitoring group Traffic says nearly 5,500 rhinos have been killed over a five-year period.
Only 20,000 or so rhinos remain in South Africa - the vast majority of the 25,000 animals left across the whole continent, says Traffic. Most of the 222 rhinos killed for their horn in South Africa's eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal were at the state-run Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Conservation group Saving the Wild says a "web of systematic corruption" within the justice system is to blame. It says this has allowed poaching to continue in a province which saw poaching increase by a third.
The campaign body says "no action has been taken against this grossly corrupt alleged syndicate of justice officials". "We are concerned that members of this syndicate are under political protection."
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