South Africa: Over 170 Rhinos Killed During First Six Months of 2011, Dozens of Arrests Made

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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.

Unfortunately, as long as there is a demand for rhino horn, there will be unscrupulous people attempting to make a profit from rhino horn.

Help raise awareness about the rhino crisis

Want to help? Check out our awareness campaigns:

Visit Saving Rhinos to learn more.


Image: © iStockphoto.com

Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, an educational nonprofit organization which provides news and information about wildlife crime and endangered species. I am the Editor of Rhino Horn is Not Medicine and Project Pangolin, author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine, a writer for the environmental news blog Planetsave, the host of Behind the Schemes, and Producer for the upcoming documentary The Price. When I'm not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, I enjoy gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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  1. After Khutsi a young black rhino bull who manged to survive on his own at the age of 2.5 years old when he was orphaned by poachers, and then himself poached in pilanesberg national park i can only hope that efforts will continue against these criminals!!!