South African Government reports a decline in Rhino killings

South African National Parks forensic members take DNA samples of a deceased rhino on August 21, 2018 in the Kruger National Park. – The carcass of a female white rhino was found in the Malelane area of the Kruger National Park on August 21, 2018. It was half eaten by vultures and scavenger animals. The rhino was shot dead by poachers on August 16, 2018 and discovered by rangers on August 17, 2018. The forensic unit only managed to attend to the crime scene on August 21, 2018 due to the high demand of forensic units in the area. (Photo by WIKUS DE WET / AFP)

Since last year, over 365 rhino poachers and 36 alleged rhino horn traffickers have been arrested in South Africa. which led to a sharp fall in the number of rhinos killed to 769 in 2018, from 1,028 in 2017.

The government has announced its intent to end this ’scourge’ of rhino killings. “Although we are encouraged by the national poaching figures for 2018, it is critical that we continue to implement collaborative initiatives to address the scourge of rhino poaching,” environment minister Nomvula Mokonyane said.

2018 was the last time in 5 years that less than 1,000 rhinos have been killed in South Africa. The number started to rise from 13 in 2007, to peak of 1,215 in 2014.

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The demand driving rhino poachers originates mainly from China and Vietnam, where a rhino’s horn has alternative uses as traditional medicine, an aphrodisiac, or a status symbol, processing them to bracelets, beads, and powders to Asian urban consumers.

In 2018, 421 rhinos were killed in Kruger National Park alone, 16 percent less than the year prior. Most of the arrested rhino poachers were apprehended in or around the famous Kruger National Park. South Africa is home to 80 percent of the world’s remaining rhinos.

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