The number of poached rhinos in South Africa decreased by 13 animals to 529 between January and June compared with the same period last year, a downward trend welcomed with cautious optimism by the government on Monday.
Rhino poaching in South Africa surged from 83 in 2008 to a record 1,215 in 2014 to meet burgeoning demand in newly affluent Asian countries such as Vietnam, where their horns are prized as an ingredient in traditional medicines.
The minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa said the interventions that they are now embarking upon dealing with the rhino are also implemented to counter the poaching against elephants.
Whilst there has been a decrease in the number of Rhino killed for their horn in the Kruger National Park and Mpumalanga.
“Whilst there has been a decrease in the number of Rhino killed for their horn in the Kruger National Park and Mpumalanga, the number of Rhino poached unfortunately increased in some other provinces as we said before. And it is a concern and we report here today also that there have been some 30 elephants which were poached in the Kruger National Park,” she added.
South Africa has more than 80 percent of the world’s rhinos, with about 18,000 white rhinos and close to 2,000 black rhinos. It has countered poaching by increasing activity by park rangers and tougher jail sentences.
A total of 243 rhino carcasses were found in the Kruger National Park, which has traditionally borne the brunt of rhino poaching, down from 354 in January-June last year, but the decrease in Kruger was mostly offset by increased poaching elsewhere.