A shocking 749 rhinos have been killed in South Africa alone so far this year. This latest statistic is as of 27 August and was released during a media briefing by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs.
The governmental department reported some shocking statistics showing the scale of the problem facing South Africa:
- Anti-poaching efforts are being undertaken in the face of a 27% increase in poachers entering the Kruger National Park (KNP) attempting to kill rhino
- So far during 2015, there have been 1,617 positively identified poacher activities in the KNP
- This implies that three incursions occur per day, anywhere along the 1,000km KNP border
- This means that there are 12 active poacher groups at any given time somewhere on the 2 million hectares of the KNP
- Anti-poaching teams have made physical contact with heavily-armed poachers 95 times so far this year, close to three times a week
- Since 2012 a total of 26 orphaned rhinos have been rescued from the KNP; eight of these during 2015
- Of the 749 rhinos poached in South Africa, 544 of these were in KNP. This time last year the number of rhino lost to poachers was 716 for the whole country and 459 for KNP
- There have been 138 arrests inside KNP so far this year, an increase from the 81 for the same period last year
- During July 2015, 35 arrests were made in KNP alone
- On average three rhinos are being poached each day in South Africa
In response to this escalated threat, the government has reported that it has stepped up efforts, which includes traditional anti-poaching policing strategies, co-operation with law enforcement agencies, work with local communities and collaboration with international countries including Mozambique, China, Vietnam and Cambodia.
You can read the full media briefing from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs online.
Rhino poaching has dramatically increased in South Africa over recent years, see the graph below. In 2007 just 13 rhinos were killed by poachers.
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