More than 1,000 rhinos killed in South Africa in 2013

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More than 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa last year at a record-breaking rate that marked a jump of 50% on the year before. The environment ministry said 1,004 animals were killed in 2013, up from 668 in 2012 and just 13 in 2007, as the poaching crisis escalated. Most of the killing was in Kruger national park, a famous safari destination.

Carcass of a rhino shot in the Kruger national park of South Africa. Both black and white rhino are killed for their horns. Photograph: Alet Pretorius/Getty Images

Appetite for rhino horn from Asia, in particular Vietnam, has driven the killing in South Africa, which ministers have warned in turn threatens the country’s tourism sector. Demand is so high that a kilogramme of rhino horn is now worth more than gold or cocaine.

The UK prime minister, David Cameron, is hosting a summit in London next month in a bid to tackle the trade which has also seen tens of thousands of elephants killed in Africa annually in recent years.

Data chart shows steep rise in rhino killing

Conservationists said action must be taken now. Tom Milliken, rhino expert at wildlife trade monitors Traffic, said: “South Africa and Mozambique [a transit hub for wildlife products leaving Africa] must decisively up their game if they hope to stop this blatant robbery of southern Africa’s natural heritage. 2014 must mark the turning point where the world, collectively says ‘enough is enough’ and brings these criminal networks down.

Governments and NGOs have argued in recent years that the illegal wildlife trade has become a national security issue, rather than just an environmental one. The channelling of funds from poaching to terrorist groups has led the US intelligence community to begin tracking often heavily-armed poachers.

“Rhino horn trafficking and consumption are not simply environmental issues, they represent threats to the very fabric of society,” said Miliken.

Dr Jo Shaw, rhino programme manager for WWF-South Africa, said: “These criminal networks are threatening our national security and damaging our economy by frightening away tourists.”

South Africa said it increased the number of arrests of poachers from 267 in 2012, to 343 in 2013, though the number represents a decrease in the percentage of rhinos killed in total.

The crisis shows little sign of stopping – the South African government said 37 rhino have already been poached in 2014. There are around 18,000 white and 4,000 black rhinos in the country.

This article was written by Adam Vaughan for the Guardian.


 

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Anne Sauvageot

cela est du carnage , il faut arreter ces assassins

Anne Grice

If law makers and governments were not so corrupt, incompetent and lack the moral courage to protect wild life , things would have not deteriorated to the sad situation it is now. Humans have lost out the scourge of the planet – the vilest evil disgusting people who would use there rhino horns to enjoy sex!! How more pathetic and foolish can you be. That is why viagra is developed you sick bastards!

Elaine Brown

The black Rhino has ALREADY been declared extinct , what the hell is it gonna take to stop these idiots ?? It won't be long before we will only have pictures of our beautiful wildlife because of greed and stupidity !!!

Johnny Knoopdenvogel
Johnny Knoopdenvogel

Corey Knowlton and his gang shared in the killings and destroying our wildlife !! These governments care less because they are incapable to know what is going on … SA President put the money into his new house and the Namibian government follow suit behind the lime light !! USELESS GOVERMENTS AT WORK

Julie Beddome

THis is what happens when ignorance and especially greed takes over humanity…

Karl Pitwon

For Christ's sake government of South Africa , get a grip of this problem and sort it out before its to late

Craig Cudworth
Craig Cudworth

Horror