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Rhino poaching decreases in South Africa for the fifth year in a row

Grazie ai crescenti sforzi del governo, nel 2019 il numero di rinoceronti uccisi è calato a 594, contro i 769 del 2018.

All over the world, rhino populations face the perpetual threat of poaching and two of the existing five species are on the brink of being lost forever. However, the baby steps taken to safeguard these creatures over the past two years have led to an increase in the number of rhinos worldwide. Ten years ago there were 21,000, today the number has gone up to 27,300.

Whilst remaining a damaging and unsustainable practice, poaching has been on the downfall in South Africa according to the national Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

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In 2019, poachers were responsible for the death of almost 900 rhinos in Africa © Ingimage

Rhino poaching in South Africa

The situation regarding rhino poaching in South Africa hit rock bottom in 2015, when 1,175 of them were slaughtered. Since then, the number has been decreasing every year. 769 fell victim to illegal hunting in 2018 and 594 in 2019. Even though there’s little joy to be taken in the murder of just under 600 rhinos last year, the positive trend resulting from the government’s efforts to safeguard wild fauna should be acknowledged.

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Measures taken to safeguard rhinos

Fewer rhinos are being poached and this is credited to a number of policies. Newly implemented technologies have allowed a faster and more effective response. In addition, police forces around the country are cooperating more closely, resulting in more effective sharing and distribution of information as well as improved and closer cooperation on both a regional and national level. Lastly, NGOs and the private sector should also be credited for their increased involvement.

“We’ll redouble our efforts to make sure that communities who live on the borders of our parks benefit from conservation and the biodiversity economy so they’re not vulnerable to recruitment by syndicated poaching operations,” Barbara Creecy, South African Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, commented.

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Rhinos are the victims of ruthless poaching due to their horns, whose price, however, is falling on the Asian market © Leon Neal/Getty Images

A new approach to fighting poaching

The South African government has announced a new strategy to fight poaching, the National Integrated Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking (NISCWT). The policy, which will be implemented beginning from the first half of 2020, advocates a multidisciplinary approach to safeguarding rhinos from poaching as part of a broader mission to end all trafficking of wild animals.

“Although the battle to end poaching is far from over, we’re proud to say that our efforts as a government, as private rhino owners and as concerned citizens are paying dividends as we continue to implement the Integrated Strategic Approach to the management of rhinos,”  said Minister Creecy.

Read more: Laos, the ups and downs of the illegal wildlife trade in a Chinese-controlled special economic zone

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In Kruger National Park, 2,014 incursions by poachers were registered in 2019, costing 327 rhinos their lives © Ingimage

332 poachers arrested in 2019

The number of elephants killed in South Africa has also decreased. 71 were killed in 2018, dropping to 31 the following year. In 2019, 178 poachers were arrested in Kruger National Park alone, and a total of 332 poachers and rhino horn traffickers were arrested in the country last year.

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