WWF-South Africa's wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Jacques Flamand, has dedicated his career to the protection and conservation of South Africa's iconic species, including the critically endangered black rhino.
Since 2016, WWF and FLIR Systems Inc., a thermal imaging company, have been working together to equip rangers in Kenya with night vision thermal technology to better protect wildlife from poaching under cover of darkness. Since the project began, no rhinos have been poached in the areas where the night vision cameras operate.
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.
In an enormous setback for wildlife conservation, China announced it will allow hospitals to use tiger bone and rhino horn from captive-bred animals for traditional medicine. The decision reverses a decades-old ban that has been instrumental in preventing the extinction of endangered tigers and rhinos.
WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP) has been working with passion, commitment, and determination for a brighter future for the critically endangered black rhino for more than a decade. BRREP works to grow black rhino numbers by creating new populations and provides equipment and training to rangers to monitor, manage, and protect rhinos.
Looking back over years of moving black rhinos to create new populations as part of the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project in South Africa, it’s worth noting how capture and release techniques have improved.
In 2016 alone, 1,054 rhinos were reported killed in South Africa.This figure represents a loss in rhinos of approximately 6% in South Africa, which is close to the birth rate, meaning the population remains perilously close to the tipping point.
Selous Game Reserve, one of Africa’s oldest reserves and Tanzania’s largest protected area, holds vast potential, but it also faces a number of threats. By bringing together governments, local communities, industry and civil society groups, we can transform Selous into a success story.
As conservationists, we have learned what it takes to help rhinos recover from the very edge of extinction.The formula is quite simple: protect rhinos where they exist, incentivize community stewardship of rhino populations, manage populations for maximum growth, establish new populations in suitable locations for maximum protection and population growth. This formula is achievable, but it does require political will and resources to see the plan through.
Poaching statistics released by the South African government reveal 668 rhinos were slaughtered—a 50% increase over 2011 and a staggering 5000% increase since 2007. Already, an additional five rhinos have been killed since the beginning of this year.
Rhino poaching crisis in South Africa is at an unprecedented level. A new report details how the fate of South Africa’s rhinos is inextricably linked with market demand in Vietnam—a country that recently saw its own rhino population slip into extinction.
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