News / Africa

    South Africa Rhino Poaching Spikes in 2013

    FILE - Rhinos with cut horns walk at a farm in Musina, Limpopo province, South Africa on May 9, 2012.
    FILE - Rhinos with cut horns walk at a farm in Musina, Limpopo province, South Africa on May 9, 2012.
    The number of South African rhinos killed by poachers rose nearly 50 percent this year to almost 1,000.

    As of December 19, poachers had killed 946 rhinos in South Africa this year. The South African department of environmental affairs says 668 were killed in 2012. A decade ago, in 2003, only 22 rhinos were poached.

    Richard Emslie, a scientific officer in South Africa with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, said, "It's a real crisis… for poaching to continue to escalate as it has done year on year is not sustainable."

    He said the numbers don't bode well for the animals, which are being killed for their horns.

    "At the rate poaching has been escalating continentally since 2008, we will reach the tipping point where deaths start to exceed births as soon as 2014 up to 2016, depending on the underlying growth rate of rhinos," said Emslie.

    Number of rhinos killed vs. number of poachers arrested in South Africa, 2010-2012Number of rhinos killed vs. number of poachers arrested in South Africa, 2010-2012
    x
    Number of rhinos killed vs. number of poachers arrested in South Africa, 2010-2012
    Number of rhinos killed vs. number of poachers arrested in South Africa, 2010-2012
    South Africa is home to 83 percent of the continent's rhinos, 73 percent of the world's population.

    Although South Africa arrested 330 poachers in 2013, environmental experts say that rising demand makes the fight against poaching harder. A single rhino horn can sell for thousands of dollars.

    China and Southeast Asia are the biggest markets for rhino horn, which many people consider to be an aphrodisiac.  

    Changing that perception has become a major focus for anti-poaching organizations and governments. There have been ad campaigns in countries such as Vietnam to educate people on the effect of poaching, and to explain that the horns are made up largely of the same material as human finger- and toe-nails.

    Some organizations also are trying to find other jobs for South Africans who might be recruited to poach.

    Emslie said the numbers should be a call to action for South Africans.

    "It is a wakeup call, and the escalating poaching has been a wake-up call. it has been a matter of serious concern to rhino conservationists, not only in South Africa, but all the major rain states… if it continues, for example, continentally at the rate its been increasing since 2008, we could go down from 25,000 rhinos in Africa at the start of 2013 to under 10,000 at the turn of the decade. So we're really at the crisis point," said Emslie.

    His hope is that more support will be given to anti-poaching groups.

    "We're fortunate that there's a number of extremely dedicated people on the ground really doing their best to turn the tide, and we just have to hope that the international community helps rally together to give the people on the ground the support and resources they need," he said.

    There also is new legislation to curb poaching. South Africa and Mozambique are exploring an agreement that would allow South Africa's anti-poaching officers to head into Mozambique while pursuing poachers.

    Elsewhere in Africa, Botswana has banned all big-game hunting starting January 1.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Linda Wark from: Canada
    December 31, 2013 5:57 PM
    "China and Southeast Asia are the biggest markets for rhino horn, which many people consider to be an aphrodisiac". Yes, just what China needs an aphrodisiac, cuz population isn't a problem at all. The stupidity is astonishing.

    by: sibusiso from: witbank
    December 30, 2013 3:45 PM
    Let's fight against rhinos poaching tooth and nails let's not allow them stole our pride away from us

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora