Rhino crisis thrown into relief

Rhino poaching may have abated slightly in South Africa, but it’s still rife across Africa, the latest statistics reveal.

According to figures the African Rhino Specialist Group published, along with more than 6,000 rhino poached in South Africa since 2006, there have been 224 in Kenya, 525 in Zimbabwe, 193 in Namibia and 123 in Mozambique. There have also been small numbers of poaching incidences in Botswana, DR Congo, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.

Commenting on the figures, Save The Rhino International said: “The current crisis took off in Zimbabwe in 2008. Once the ‘soft’ targets (Zimbabwe’s national parks) had been emptied, the poaching gangs shifted their attention to South Africa.

“South Africa is still the country experiencing the highest number of rhino poaching incidents, but that’s partly a reflection of rhino distribution in Africa.

“There was a significant spike in poaching in Kenya in 2013, which represented some 5 per cent of the national population. Most national rhino strategies aim to grow their populations by 5 per cent per year, so poaching take-off at this level, along with natural mortiality, could lead to static growth – or even an overall decline in numbers.

“In Kenya and Namibia, new law enforcement initiatives have resulted in a decline in poaching incidents. “It’s too soon to say that either country has solved the problem.”

Sporting Rifle raised £19,000 for two rhino reserves – Big Game Parks in Swaziland and Borana in Kenya – in its 2017 Save The Rhino charity auction. Stay tuned for more news on our next initiatives and fundraising plans.

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