October 29, 2013
60 percent of rhinos poached have been killed in Kruger National Park, South Africa's best-known protected areas. Outside Kruger, 87 rhinos have been killed in Limpopo, 65 in North West, 73 in KwaZulu-Natal, 68 in Mpumalanga, four in Gauteng, three in the Eastern Cape, and three in the Marakele National Park.
Rhinos are being poached for their horns, which are in high demand as a status symbol and for unproven "medicinal use" in Vietnam. A rhino's horn may be worth tens of thousands of dollars to the end consumer, making poaching a lucrative trade for businessmen as well as poor rural residents.
The high price of rhino horn means poaching continues to skyrocket despite South Africa declaring the problem a "national security risk" in 2011. Some officials have argued the only way to break the cycle is to win an international exemption to auction off millions of kilos of seized rhino horn, swamping the market. But critics say the approach would only enlarge the market for rhino horn, driving future poaching.
All of the world's five rhino species are considered endangered.
Unlikely success: how Zimbabwe has become a global leader in rhino conservation
(10/02/2013) With its collapsed economy, entrenched poverty, and political tremors, one would not expect that a country like Zimbabwe would have the capacity to safeguard its rhinos against determined and well-funded poachers, especially as just across the border South Africa is currently losing over two rhinos a day on average. And indeed, without the Lowveld Rhino Trust (LRT), rhinos in Zimbabwe would probably be near local extinction. But the LRT, which is centrally involved in the protection of around 90 percent of the country's rhinos in private reserves along with conservancy members, has proven tenacious and innovative in its battle to safeguard the nation's rhinos from the poaching epidemic.
Poaching jumps since South Africa announced support for legal rhino horn trade
(09/20/2013) South Africa has experienced an uptick in rhino poaching since Environmental Minister Edna Molewa called for legalizing the rhino trade, reveals analysis by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
Rhino wars: documenting the poaching crisis in South Africa
(01/16/2013) In 2012 a record 668 rhinos were slaughtered by poachers in South Africa for the horns, which are used as scientifically-debunked medicine in Asia. Rhino poaching has hit record levels worldwide over the past few years, but no where is the carnage greater than South Africa, which houses well over half of the world's rhinos. Thus it's no surprise that when student filmmaker, Anne Goodard, arrived in South Africa to film zebra behavior, she quickly became enthralled by the dark and tragic drama surrounding the country's rhinos.
The riot over rhinos: how a luxury and illegal commodity is driving the slaughter of one of the world’s iconic megafauna
(10/15/2012) 23,680 = the estimated number of wild rhinoceroses in South Africa. 35,000,000 = the number of American dollars generated by rhino hunting in South Africa. 97% = the percentage increase in illegally-hunted rhinos in 2011 from the national average in 1990. 30,000 = the number of pounds of rhino horns confiscated from poachers since 2010. 65 = the number of horns that have been stolen in South Africa from public display. 430...the number of rhinos killed this year, and counting...