(The Scotsman) Africa’s biggest animals were poached in near-record numbers in 2012, with surging demand for horn and ivory from Asia driving the slaughter of rhinos and elephants.

Poachers had killed 633 rhinos in South Africa by mid-December, according to government figures. That marks a new annual peak in the country that is home to most of the continent’s rhinos, and a sharp rise from the record 448 poached last year and the mere handful of deaths recorded a decade ago.

Elsewhere in Africa, the slaughter of elephants continued unabated, with mass killings reported in Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo.

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