S. Africa, Vietnam sign rhino protection agreement
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa says its diplomats have signed an agreement with Vietnam to try and halt the trade of horns taken from poached rhinoceros.
South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs announced Monday that the deal had been signed. The department said the agreement included conservation and protection provisions, as well as a promise to increase law enforcement efforts and information sharing between the two countries.
The deal comes amid a wholesale slaughter of rhinos in South Africa, which has the continent's biggest rhino population. Government statistics released Monday show at least 618 rhinos have been poached this year alone.
Vietnam is one of the top markets for rhino horn. The material is more valuable than cocaine there and is used as a medical supplement, though doctors say it has no benefit.