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South Africa: Rhino poacher gets 77 years in jail

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A rhino poacher in South Africa has been sentenced to 77 years in prison in one of the heaviest penalties aimed at curbing poachers who target rhinos for their horns, which fetch a high price on the illegal market in parts of Asia.

South Africa's national parks service said Wednesday that it hopes Tuesday's sentencing of Mandla Chauke, who was arrested in Kruger National Park in 2011, will deter other poachers.

Parks spokesman Reynold Thakhuli says the sentence shows South African courts are realizing the negative impact that poaching has on wildlife and an economy heavily dependent on tourism.

The parks service says Kruger has lost 370 rhinos to poachers this year and 62 people have been arrested in connection with some of the cases.

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