About 116 kilograms of illegal rhino horn were seized by South African authorities, before it has been smuggled out of the country.
Lizzy, a detector dog at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, sniffed out the boxes that contained about 36 horns and horn fragments wrapped up in plastic that amounted to $1.3 million. Officials believed it is one of the biggest seized in the country in recent years.
The horns were placed in eight boxes along with everyday items such as doormats and home decorations, and were ready to be shipped to Dubai, according to a statement by the South African Revenue Service.
Despite continued efforts by conservation groups to fight illegal poaching of rhino horns, it is still quite a persistent issue in South Africa. According to several conservation groups, the number of killed rhinos had decreased since 2014, however, more than 1,000 rhinos are still killed every year in Africa.
Between 2007 and 2014, rhino poaching rose by 9,000%, according to BBC News. Poachers usually smuggle the horns out of the country one by one, break them down into smaller pieces or even grind them into powder, so that it cannot be detected in airports.
Grounded rhino horns are commonly used in China and Vietnam as traditional medicines, while others crave having it as a status symbol of wealth and success.