Illegal killings of rhinos in South Africa are on the decline. In 2019, poachers killed 594 rhinos, down from 769 in the year prior, according to South Africa’s Department of the Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries.
This encouraging news is a result of combined efforts of government, private, community, and non-governmental organization partners.
Although the reduction in poaching numbers is a positive sign, rhinos remain under threat from organized crime syndicates and the lessening availability of suitable places to live in the long-term.
“Law enforcement efforts alone cannot address the complex social and economic drivers behind the long-term threats to our rhinos,” said Dr. Jo Shaw, senior manager, wildlife program, WWF-South Africa. “What is required is a commitment to a holistic approach which considers the attitudes, opportunities, and safety of people living around protected areas. The role of corruption, inevitably associated with organized crime syndicates, must also be addressed.”
The illegal wildlife trade spans nations. Demand for rhino horn from some Asian countries, mainly China and Vietnam, drives this unlawful trade.
WWF works to stop poaching with new technology and helping local governments and communities protect rhinos. We also tackle the illegal trade of and demand for rhino horn through market monitoring, research and advocacy, collaborating with online and transport companies to help them identify and remove rhino and other illegal wildlife products, and strengthening local and international law enforcement efforts.