Rhinos being killed in S. Africa to meet Asian demand

The number of rhinos murdered for their horns illegally in South Africa increased in the first half of 2022 as poachers turned to hunting in private parks, the nation’s environment ministry reported on Monday.

In comparison to the first half of last year, ten more rhinos were stolen nationwide, bringing the total to 259 rhinos. After a decline in poaching in 2020 associated with COVID-19 limitations, poaching in South Africa has already increased last year.

About half of all black rhinos on the African continent are endangered, while the world’s largest population of white rhinos, which are “near-threatened” rather than endangered, is found in South Africa.

Data from the ministry showed that as a result of enhanced conservation efforts and surveillance in the renowned Kruger National Park, poachers had begun to hunt in private parks and the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

According to a statement from Environment Minister Barbara Creecy, recent trends in rhino poaching indicate a shift away from the Kruger Park to private reserves in KwaZulu-Natal, where the majority of rhinos have been murdered this year.

Kevin Pietersen, a cricket player and rhino activist who was born in South Africa, informed the media that the population reduction was “catastrophic.”

The charity SORAI, or Save our Rhino Africa/India, was formed by the former captain of the England national cricket team and helps injured, orphaned, or abandoned rhinos.

Local and international criminal gangs frequently work together to poach rhinos and smuggle their horns across borders. According to the ministry, Asia has a particularly strong demand.

If we don’t intervene in this dire scenario, Pietersen said, “We’re staring at one of Africa’s Big Five going extinct.” The Big Five are a group of five prominent African species that are also known as the elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard.

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