The South African government released a statement this week saying the rhinoceros population is under threat, largely due to poaching.
The government says 451 rhinos were poached in South Africa between January and December 2021. 327 were in game reserves, and 124 on private property.
The poaching numbers in South Africa had been on the decline for two years prior to 2021, likely due in large part to the halt of tourism and travel when the coronavirus pandemic hit. 2019 only saw 247 poachings of rhinos.
Poachers hunt rhinos for their horns, which sell for a large price on the black market and are used to make homeopathic medicines in some cultures. Due to increased anti-poaching efforts and the rhino population’s steady decline, the value of their horns has increased in recent years.
“SANParks, provincial nature reserves and private rhino owners are dehorning rhino to deter poachers, while SANParks is investigating the feasibility of additional actions such as anti-poaching initiatives focused on apprehending poachers and establishing additional founder populations outside the Kruger National Park,” reads the government’s statement.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SAPEOPLE.COM