South African Rhino Poaching Hits New High, Group Says

Despite ongoing protection efforts, rhinoceros poaching continues to climb sharply in South Africa, the World Wildlife Fund said Friday.

New government estimates show that killings of South African rhinos for their horns has increased 50 percent since 2011 and nearly 5000 percent since 2007, according to the group, marking a new peak.

Last year, 668 rhinoceros were killed illegally in South Africa for their horns, a new high, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which studies wildlife poaching and illegal animal trade.

New hunting methods for the nearly 2,000-pound (900 kg) animals, including high-powered rifles, helicopters, and night vision goggles have eclipsed more traditional hunting tools such as bows, arrows, and spears. (Read “Blood Ivory” in National Geographic magazine.)

“The African rhino is under serious threat from poachers who have intensified their search of rhino for their horns since 2007, driven by growing market demands in Asia,” Joseph Okori, the head of WWF’s African Rhino Program, said in a statement.

Rhino horns are so valuable in parts of Asia because of widespread belief that they cure diseases, especially cancer. In some areas, horns sell on the black market for a price comparable to cocaine in the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

South African biologists warn that illegal killing may threaten to outpace new births of calves, risking the extinction of some rhino species, including African black rhinos and Sumatran rhinos native to Asia.

While African rhinos are imperiled due to poaching, last year WWF ranked Vietnam the worst country for crime against wildlife, after poachers killed some of the few remaining of Vietnam’s prized Javan rhinoceros. They are considered the rarest large land mammal on the planet.

Still, despite some alleged government corruption and loose patrolling of protected areas, conservation efforts have shown some success protecting rhinos in many areas.

Last month, the South African and Vietnamese governments signed a treaty increasing enforcement of hunting bans and sharing information to crack down on offenders. Both countries have vowed to try to disrupt transit routes where bloody horns make it into the hands of Asian collectors.

  • John Platt

    “Group says”? This is an official count from the South African government.


    What do Rinos use their horns for if its not for defense could not the horns be removed I know this may be very difficult but its just a thought?

  • Cayle Michael Guillome Barsby

    That treaty was apparently dropped at the last minute by Vietnam


    I live an hour north of Sydney Australia and feel helpless in trying to save the wildlife from these inhuman parasites who kill the magnificent rhino, elephant or lion for money, for their horn or for trophy hunting ….its worst than barbaric, they are sub-human. But what I can do is not holiday in Vietnam and tell everyone to boycott Vietnamese imported goods and sponsors of Trophy Hunting websites.

  • Phil Kerr

    Poaching is a crime deserving of equal retribution. If the governments of any country would allow for the hunting of poachers – even open them up for hunting season with bounties, licenses for each poacher’s scalp – I promise you I will volunteer – and the poaching will stop.

  • Holly Nagy

    The more i read the more disgusted i am. first because of what i am assuming is an otherwise intelligent group of people is being duped into thinking that rhino horns actually cure anything and secondly because they know how these horns are obtained. wake up folks heres a great example of how a market is created on peoples ignorance and you are buying into it. shame on you for being so stupid and condoning the killing of these animals in such a cruel horrific manner. your money would be better spent on common sense.

  • Susanna oosthuizen

    Please watchthis shocking video of mutilated rhino cow left alive by poachers (link below). We report on the situation weekly, being close to the Kruger National Park – and can tell you the situation is dire to say the least.



  • Lucienne Walters

    Why is this butchering of rhinos simply allowed? Is it because the South African government is making vast amounts of money from it and /or they are cosying up to the east (specifically China) in the same way they would not allow the Dalai Llama a visa so that he could not enter South Africa? In my view if you’re capable of doing the latter, the former is a picnic. And the local Africans never say a word against this truly horrible crime against defenceless animals. I only found out the other day that a rhino can scream. I wish I had’nt heard it. It haunts me daily.

  • Martin Oosthuizen

    I just want to find out if you have a Remy flera working for you? I want to buy something from him but it sounds to good to be true and living in SA you have to make sure about stuff like that

  • A van zyl

    Hi Martin Oosthuizen, I also have been contacted by said Remy Flera, claiming to be ceo of National Geographic, and seeling a VW Golf for only R24 000.
    Is this the same contact that you have had?

  • A van zyl

    Hi Martin Oosthuizen, it is a scam.
    e-bay does not require you to pay upfront, and this person is by no means an employee of National Geographic. The domain name for his email is also incorrect.

    Don’t deposit any money!

  • Gert van Heerden

    It seems like this Remy Flera guy who claims he’s working for National Geographic is a real busy guy, with selling so called cheap cars on junkmail.co.za. The only thing he does’nt know, is that there is something like the internet where you can do some research. Thank you A van Zyl, I’ve smelled something fishy from the start with this guy.

  • Je-ann Atkins

    Hi, Remy also emailed me this morning. It was a little suspicious to me that he will bring the car, I was wondering who will take him home again. So I googled the name and found this page, thank you all for now Im sertain this is a scam. Seems like he’s busy on all sites, cause this was a add on Automart and Junkmail tells you exactly what he will email you. Thank You

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  • James

    Is that a Sumatran Rhino ?

  • Anne Grice

    There is no end to the senseless killing of precious wildlife as governments of these countries continue to permit such ruthless vile hunting all in the name of big bags of blood money from the filthy rich who have no better use for their evil money. The short sightedness of these misguided governments is at the detriment of all wild life in their counties which does not seem to have to abide with any international wild life laws. Man will never stop their unconscionable digesting thirst for killing until every animal is gone format this god forsaken planet. God help the future generations whip would be left with an overpopulated planet of ruthless blood thirsty animal killers with no animal left to kill!! What a terrifying thought!

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