New blood record: 1,020 rhinos killed in South Africa



South Africa has surpassed last year’s grisly record for slaughtered rhinos – 1,004 – more than a month before the year ends. In an announcement on November 20th, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs said that 1,020 rhinos had been killed to date. Rhinos are butchered for their horns, which are consumed as curatives in countries like Vietnam and China despite any evidence that rhino horn has medicinal properties.

In its announcement, the Department of Environmental Affairs stressed the government’s new initiatives to combat the poaching scourge.

“South Africa’s multi-disciplinary response further includes the creation of an intensive protection zone within the Kruger National Park, the introduction and implementation of new technology, pro-active intelligence, improving national, regional and international collaboration, and trans-locating rhino to safe areas within South Africa, and in rhino range states,” the department said in a statement.

White rhino in South Africa. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

But none of these programs blunted the killing spree which has been rising rapidly since 2007 when just seven rhinos were killed in the country. Today, it takes less than three days on average for seven rhinos to meet their end in the country.

While rhino poaching is a problem across many countries in Africa and Asia, its epicenter remains in South Africa. This is, at least partly, because the country is home to the largest population of rhinos in the world. As of 2010, South Africa was home to over 18,000 white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum) and nearly 2,000 black rhinos (Diceros bicornis). In the case of white rhinos, South Africa has over 90 percent of the global population. But the country has also been criticized by some for not doing enough to protect its rhinos and supporting the creation of a legal trade in rhino horns.

Young rhino whose horn and part of its face cut off by poachers. The animal survived for several days before South African officials found it and put it down. Photo by: Frans Lombard, shared on Facebook.

This article was first published by Mongabay.com on 24 Nov 2014.

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Rosemary Hugharts

It makes my blood boil what people will do for money and an aphrodisiac.This has to stop .

Anne Grice

Bloody disgusting !! All the name of curing the Asian Men's sexual dysfunction!! Viagra is available please use that and stop the senseless destruction of living beings for finger nail material which does no good for any cures! Haven't you sick human garbage not seen that rhino horn does not work? God you despicable people who has so much wealth and you are still as ignorant and backward like the bloody savages of the dark ages! You are the maggots to would life!

Sharon Sanders

These hunters and poachers won't be happy until they have killed off all the ani mals. They are selfish and have no regard for future generations to see these animals alive not just in a book like dinosauers. Grow up assholes

Goldi Muencz

I hate all killers, no one has te right to kill the animals, we have to save all nature

Mark McCandlish

I would suggest mini drones to track poachers, satellite tracking of individual Rhinos, and a hefty reward for informants who finger actual poachers are additional possibilities. In some instances, I've seen well-paid armed guards that stay with the animals, and by itself, that is obviously not enough. But I have serious doubts that the poaching will end. In fact it would not surprise me to find that pound for pound, powdered Rhino horn is more valuable in Asia than pure heroin. There has to be a deterrent brought to bear that can stop the poachers preemptively, or if they can… Read more »

Delbert Smith
Delbert Smith

The way to stop this is to tranquilize the rhinos and remove the horn. This can be done up to about five times during the rhinos lifetime. No horns no killing.

Anyonebut-Harper

There are no words that come to mind about how I feel about the people behind this poaching, and the countries that continue to destroy our wildlife! I have to use for them, and our world would be a better place without their barbaric cultures. Our only hope is the younger generation would improve. Until than I have no use for them

Susan Frudd

It is so sickening what are these people…cruel, ignorant, inhumane..there must be urgent action taken to stop this, easier said than done, we can only hope and pray a way will come …very soon.

Jane McConnell
Jane McConnell

Asia has yet again surpassed itself in its repulsiveness and ignorance. I am starting to think teh only way to save these creatures is to atom bomb the whole of asia and remove every repulsive ignorant trace of humanity that is responsible for this transgression. Arm PETA.