Kruger National Park loses 95 rhinos to poachers in three months

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
April 05, 2012



A white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) roaming Kruger, which is also home to the more endangered black rhinoceros. Photo by: Bigstock.
Rhinoceros, Kruger National Park, South Africa. A white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) roaming Kruger, which is also home to the Critically Endangered black rhinoceros. Photo by: Bigstock.

Since the first of the year, South Africa's Kruger National Park has lost 95 rhinos to poachers, reports the blog Rhino Horn is NOT Medicine. South Africa, and Kruger National Park in particular, continue to be the epicenter for rhino poaching worldwide. South Africa has lost 159 rhinos in total this year with Kruger bearing nearly 60 percent of the fatalities.

Notably, even as rhinos continue to fall to poachers, arrests of those committing the crimes are also on the rise. Ninety people have been arrested in South Africa this year linked to rhino horn crimes.

For its part, Kruger National Park is moving quickly to put more wildlife troops on the ground.

"The first group of 75 of the 150 new rangers are currently undergoing a 6 week intense paramilitary training course. The 150 rangers are to be deployed in the Kruger National Park. They have completed their competency tests, all security checks as well as medical assessments," Edna Molewa, South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, said at the park yesterday.

Poachers shoot rhinos and then saw off their horns--often while still alive. The horns are then sold on the black market in East Asia, where some consumers believe it has medicinal power, even though scientific studies have continually debunked this.

Poachers have focused on South Africa to date because it contains the world's most rhinos, with nearly 2,000 black rhinos (Diceros bicornis) and over 18,000 white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum). White rhinos are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List, while black rhinos are listed as Critically Endangered. Last year the country saw a record 448 rhinos lost to poachers, just over 2 percent of the country's total population.

Spreading over nearly 20,000 square kilometers, Kruger National Park is one of Africa's most well-known wildlife reserves and has been designated a UNESCO International Man and Biosphere reserve.













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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (April 05, 2012).

Kruger National Park loses 95 rhinos to poachers in three months.

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