South Africa has struggled for years against a scourge of rhino poaching fueled by an insatiable demand for their horns in Asia.
Most of the demand is from China and Vietnam, where the horn is coveted as a traditional medicine, aphrodisiac, or a status symbol.
The ministry attributed its success in slowing the poaching rate to a decade of various strategies and supply chain disruptions resulting from national travel restrictions during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
But Creecy warned that since lockdown restrictions were gradually lifted and game parks reopened, rhino poaching has slowly increased.
In the three months following the implementation of a lockdown on March 27 until the end of June, 46 rhinos were killed across the country, she said.
Rhinoceros horn is mostly made of keratin, the same substance as human fingernails. It is normally sold in powder form and touted as a cure for cancer and other diseases.