Kruger spokesman, William Mabasa said on Monday that poachers had killed a record number of rhinos in 2014 for their horns, which were coveted as an ingredient in traditional medicine in Vietnam and China.
“The rangers were on patrol when they came across a trio of armed men who started shooting,’’ Mabasa said.
However, two of the men were killed while a third escaped.
“They had equipment on them used in rhino poaching, including an axe which would be used for cutting off the horns,’’ he said.
The clash took place in the far south of the vast park, which is the size of Israel.
Government figures for 2014 show that by mid-November, 1,020 of the animals had been poached in South Africa, topping the previous record of 1,004 from 2013.
According to conservationists, Rhino horn fetches $65,000 per Kilogramme