Rhino poaching in South Africa increased in 2021
Johannesburg, Feb 8 (EFE).- Over 450 rhinoceroses were poached in South Africa in 2021, an increase of around 14.5% on the previous year, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment warned on Tuesday.
Minister Barbara Creecy said 451 rhinos were killed in South Africa last year, compared to 394 in 2020.
Creecy added that despite the year-on-year increase in the number of rhino deaths, poaching levels continued to record a downward trend compared to 2019, when South Africa lost 594 rhinos.
“In 2021, 209 rhinos were poached for their horns in South African National Parks – all in the Kruger National Park (KNP). This was in fact a decrease in comparison to 2020 when 247 rhinos were poached within the national parks,” Creecy said.
The ministry’s report added that while there had been a decrease in rhino poaching compared to the pre-Covid period in 2019, an increase in poaching on private property had been recorded.
Creecy said that the decline in poaching in the KNP (northeast) was due to an increase in the intensity of anti-poaching activities onsite thanks to a combined effort involving the police and environmental surveillance bodies which has resulted in a rise in the number of arrests and convictions.
The downward trend in deaths in recent years seems to have reversed the disastrous explosion in poaching that was recorded between 2008 and 2018 and which seriously threatened the survival of the species in the medium term.
In 2007, only 13 rhinos were poached in South Africa, but by 2014, the bloodiest year on record, 1,215 rhinos were hunted and killed. By 2018, poaching claimed 769 rhinos.
Poachers kill the mammals for their horns, which are sold primarily in Asian markets, where they are believed to have healing and aphrodisiac properties.
On the black market, a rhino horn can fetch between $60,000 and $80,000 per kilo.
South Africa is home to the largest community of rhinos with around 20,000 animals. EFE