World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released the following statement from Crawford Allan, Senior Director, TRAFFIC/WWF, in response to the report from the South African government that poachers killed a record 1,004 rhinos across the country in 2013, a 50 percent increase from 2012 (668 rhinos killed):
“The insatiable demand and mind-boggling prices for rhino horn means that rhinos are no longer safe anywhere – even in highly protected areas like South Africa's Kruger National Park. Since 2010, the park has become like a war zone, with military deployed to intercept poachers in an attempt to prevent the massive increases in rhino killing year on year.
The trafficking in rhino horn is now a sophisticated organized crime operation, that connects Africa to the demand markets in Asia. In Vietnam, consuming or gifting rhino horn to prevent cancer, hangovers or sexual dysfunction is the ultimate status symbol for the upper echelons of society. To many buyers it does not matter if it really works, it is the social standing it brings that is everything.”