South Africa’s rhino death toll is on the rise, and so are the arrests.
The battle to protect South Africa’s rhinos continues: The latest figures released by South Africa National Parks (SANParks) show at least 173 iconic pachyderms have fallen victim to the illegal rhino horn trade since the start of the year.
Nearly 70% of this number represents rhinos killed in the world-famous Kruger National Park.
In addition, 20 rhino killing suspects died as a result of their criminal pursuits.
Since SANParks’ release ( June 6th), sources outside the media have reported that two white rhinos were killed in Limpopo Province near the Botswana border, tragically raising the toll to 175.
Arrests on the rise
Meanwhile, two Mozambican nationals were sentenced to prison, and dozens of rhino crime-related arrests have been made in South Africa.
This year alone a total of 122 suspected poachers have been arrested around the country, of which 60 of them were arrested in the KNP. Since January this year, throughout the country, 20 suspected poachers have been killed and 10 injured in clashes with authorities. Of this figure, 15 suspected poachers have died and nine wounded during contacts with rangers and soldiers in the KNP alone.
Ten days ago, a combined SANParks, SANDF and SAPS operation netted a pair of rhino killers who brutally took the lives of two white rhinos in the Nwanedsi area of Kruger National Park.
Read the entire release at Two suspected rhino poachers arrested in the KNP.
Killing for myths
Sadly, this killing spree is all based on myths.
Rhino horn has been rigorously analyzed and actually contains no medical properties whatsoever. Despite this scientific evidence, rhino horn is considered a key ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, and it is still sought after in both China and Vietnam.
- Read the entire article at Busting the Rhino Horn Myth with Science
Unfortunately, as long as there is a demand for rhino horn, there will be unscrupulous people attempting to make a profit from rhino horn.
- Within South Africa, trophy hunts and game farming operations are becoming increasingly linked to illegal rhino horn laundering schemes. See Court Date Approaches for South African ‘Groenwald Gang’ Rhino Horn Syndicate Suspects
- Vietnamese nationals have been busted for exploiting legal hunting loopholes in order to acquire rhino horn. See Vietnamese Rhino Horn Smugglers Posing as Trophy Hunters Arrested in South Africa
- Instead of joining the global community to support rhino horn demand reduction, China has been investing millions of dollars into commercially farming rhinos in order to use their horns in Chinese medicine. See In Plain Sight: China’s ‘Rhino Horn Scheme’
- Even antique rhino horn is being stolen and smuggled. See Rhino Horns Stolen from Museums in Germany and Italy
- The illegal rhino horn trade is run by powerful international crime syndicates. See Belief and butchery: how lies and organized crime are pushing rhinos to extinction
Help raise awareness about the rhino crisis
Want to help? Check out our awareness campaigns:
- Bust the Myth – Save the Species rhino crisis awareness campaign
- Rhino Horn is NOT Medicine rhino crisis awareness campaign
Visit Saving Rhinos to learn more.
Image: © iStockphoto.com