A special South African police outfit which dealt with security during the 2010 FIFA World Cup has joined the country's fight against the scourge of rhino poaching which has seen 173 of the animals killed in 2011.

Talk Radio 702 in Johannesburg reported on June 8 that the South African police's National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) structure has joined the fight against rhino poaching in the country's famous Kruger National Park.

The station said since the start of the joint operation, two “poachers” were arrested in the park after gunning down two rhinos.

“We are joined by other government departments and we meet regularly,” said South African police spokeswoman Sally de Beer.

She said Natjoints has set up a joint operation centre at Skukuza camp in the Kruger National Park and is conducting various operations — reactive and preventive.

Natjoints is a coordinating body which is mandated by the South African cabinet to deal with major events including the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In 2010, a total of 333 rhinos were poached on private farms and in national reserves in South Africa, up from 122 in 2009.

On June 6, the South African National Parks said in a media statement that 173 rhinos had been poached throughout the country in 2011. The country's total rhino population stands between 20,000 to 22,000 animals.

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