(AGI) - Cape Town, Sep 12 - Rhino horn poaching in South Africa has decreased this year, while elephant poaching was on the increase, the country's Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said yesterday. South Africa is estimated to host around 80% or around 20 000, of the world's rhino population. Rhino poaching was declared a National Priority Crime in South Africa in 2014. There is a big demand for the Rhino horn, especially from Asian countries who believe that the horn has medicinal properties that could cure cancer A progress report showed that nationally, 702 rhinos were poached since the start of this year compared to 796 rhino between January and July last year, Molewa said in a statement. She said 414 alleged poachers had been arrested across the country since the start of the year, of which 177 were in the Kruger National Park in South Africa's Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, and 237 for the rest of the country. "We are pleased to announce yet again, as we did in January and May, that rhino poaching is on the decline in the Kruger National Park - the area hardest hit. Poaching rates reduced by 15.5 percent compared between the same periods in 2015 (9.6 percent poaching rate) and 2016 (7.9 percent poaching rate)," Molewa said. She said the success of anti-poaching efforts in the Kruger National Park has led to rhino poaching syndicates shifting operations to other South African provinces (states). In the period under review, the number of rhino poached has increased in South African provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the Northern Cape, in comparison to the same period in 2015. Molewa said it is also of concern that South Africa have begun experiencing an increase in elephant poaching. "Since January, 36 elephants have been poached in the Kruger National Park," said the Minister. She said government was utilising experience and expertise gained through efforts to combat rhino poaching to end elephant poaching as well. "What is evident, is that these successes can be attributed to the work being done on the ground by our people, our hardworking law enforcement teams and our rangers in particular," said Molewa. (AGI) .