In the recent years the South African government has upped the fight against rhino poaching. However, despite this, statistics show that poaching continues to rise exponentially.
The Department of Environmental Affairs released the latest statistics on rhino poaching on Friday. The stats indicated that 860 rhinos had been killed as of 22 November 2013. In 2012, 668 rhinos were killed. Clearly, by the end of this year, the number of poached rhinos will most likely be past the 900 mark.
Currently, there are about 5 000 black rhinos and 20 400 white rhinos in the wild. South Africa is said to be home to 83% of Africa’s rhinos and 73% of all wild rhinos worldwide.
The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) warned that the number of rhinos killed by poachers will soon outnumber the number of births, which will lead to the extinction of the South African rhino. Save The Rhino International predicts that rhino deaths will overtake births from 2016 to 2018 if poaching continues to increase at the current rate.
The increase in the number of arrests that have been made in connection with poaching does not seem to scare poachers. Over 900 arrests have been made since 2010. This year, there has been 285 arrests so far. On Friday, the Department of Enviromental Affairs commended the NPA, Police and SANPARKS rangers for their efforts in the fight against poaching.
Nevertheless, poaching has not yet significantly reduced the total number of rhinos in the world. If new effective anti-poaching strategies are devised, it is still possible to save the rhino species.
The IRF reported that “overall, populations have remained relatively stable in the face of increasingly aggressive and sophisticated poaching, but the situation is almost certainly unsustainable in the long term.” IRF executive director Susie Ellis said “Despite the crisis, there is hope for rhinos”.