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Rhino poaching increase in South Africa creates worry for African reserves

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Increasing Rhinoceros poaching activities South Africa raises concerns in Africa after it emerged that 51 more of the animals were killed in 2023 than the previous year.

The country’s government this disclosure on Tuesday saying that 499 rhinos were killed.

South Africa is home to nearly half of the critically-endangered black rhino population in Africa and to the world’s largest population of near-threatened white rhinos.

Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are used in east Asian countries for making traditional medicines and jewellery.

For animal conservationists, these should raise worry because the country has the best reserves for protecting the animals.

Even more, there are fears that poachers are becoming more daring putting other countries animal reserves in danger.

The poaching crisis initially began in Zimbabwe due to challenging socio-economic and political conditions, leading poaching gangs to target South Africa after exhausting resources in Zimbabwe.

The crisis then spread to other African countries, with Kenya, Namibia, and Zimbabwe experiencing significant losses in their rhino populations due to poaching.

Tuesday’s reported surge in Rhino killings was further explained showing clear indications that poachers are more daring.

In 2023, 406 rhinos were killed on state properties and 93 on privately owned parks, reserves and farms, South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment said in a statement.

“The pressure again has been felt in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province with Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park facing the brunt of poaching cases,” environment minister Barbara Creecy said.

“While KZN recorded 49 arrests and 13 firearms seized, multi-disciplinary teams continue to work tirelessly in an attempt to slow this relentless pressure.”

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Kruger National Park recorded a 37% decrease from 2022 with 78 rhinos poached in 2023. No rhinos were poached in any other national parks.

According to experts, Rhino poaching often involves international criminal syndicates which rely on the help of local poachers and collude with park rangers.

 


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