Rhino Poaching in South Africa hits record

Rhino Poaching in South Africa hits record

South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs has announced on Thursday that their country has witnessed a record-breaking amount of animals over the last year. In 2014, there was a 21 percent increase on the number of rhinos that are illegally killed, from the 1,004 in 2013 to 1,215 rhinos last year, according to the South African government.

According to an interview with National Geographic, Matthew Lewis, an African species expert that works for the World Wildlife Fund’s Species Conservation Program, says that if the number of illegally poached rhinos continue to rise up over the next few years, it could bring the entire species to extinction within the next decade.

The country also said on Thursday that a part of their plan to reduce the number of illegal killing of rhinos was to move 100 of them to other neighboring states in order to protect them from people who want to slaughter them for their horns.

The demand for their horns is high most especially in Asian countries China and Vietnam, as it is believed that the keratin from rhino horns can be used to cure different ailments and illnesses and is used in traditional medicine.

However, the sale of rhino horn is also illegal, yet expensive. Conservationists estimate that a kilogram of rhino horn is worth 65,000$, worth more than gold or platinum. The high prices is mostly because of the rising economy in East Asia.

South Africa is home to an estimated number of 20,000 rhinos. The country has also saud that majority of the poached rhinos were white, because they are an easier target for poachers as white rhinos spend more time out in the open than their black counterparts.

International agreements state that rhino parts trading is strictly illegal, but many countries are not strict with the enforcement of these agreements, thus the rising number.

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