JOHANNESBURG -- South African rangers say they have found eight dead rhinos that had been stripped of their horns, an unprecedented one-day toll.
Reynold Thakhuli, South African National Parks spokesman, said rangers found the rhinoceros carcasses Tuesday at two sites in Kruger, the country's flagship national park.
Thakhuli said Wednesday, "This is the first time that we've had so many in one day, and it's really a concern for us."
Thakhuli says 448 rhinos were poached across South Africa in 2011, a record loss. The eight found Tuesday were the first recorded deaths for 2012.
An Asian economic boom in recent years is believed to be behind the spike in poaching, with a growing middle class in countries like China and Vietnam able to afford exotic purported remedies like powdered rhino horn.