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South African Rhino Poaching Hits New High, Group Says

Despite ongoing protection efforts, rhinoceros poaching continues to climb sharply in South Africa, the World Wildlife Fund said Friday.

New government estimates show that killings of South African rhinos for their horns has increased 50 percent since 2011 and nearly 5000 percent since 2007, according to the group, marking a new peak.

Last year, 668 rhinoceros were killed illegally in South Africa for their horns, a new high, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which studies wildlife poaching and illegal animal trade.

New hunting methods for the nearly 2,000-pound (900 kg) animals, including high-powered rifles, helicopters, and night vision goggles have eclipsed more traditional hunting tools such as bows, arrows, and spears. (Read “Blood Ivory” in National Geographic magazine.)

“The African rhino is under serious threat from poachers who have intensified their search of rhino for their horns since 2007, driven by growing market demands in Asia,” Joseph Okori, the head of WWF’s African Rhino Program, said in a statement.

Rhino horns are so valuable in parts of Asia because of widespread belief that they cure diseases, especially cancer. In some areas, horns sell on the black market for a price comparable to cocaine in the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

South African biologists warn that illegal killing may threaten to outpace new births of calves, risking the extinction of some rhino species, including African black rhinos and Sumatran rhinos native to Asia.

While African rhinos are imperiled due to poaching, last year WWF ranked Vietnam the worst country for crime against wildlife, after poachers killed some of the few remaining of Vietnam’s prized Javan rhinoceros. They are considered the rarest large land mammal on the planet.

Still, despite some alleged government corruption and loose patrolling of protected areas, conservation efforts have shown some success protecting rhinos in many areas.

Last month, the South African and Vietnamese governments signed a treaty increasing enforcement of hunting bans and sharing information to crack down on offenders. Both countries have vowed to try to disrupt transit routes where bloody horns make it into the hands of Asian collectors.


  1. Anne Grice
    January 11, 2014, 4:10 am

    There is no end to the senseless killing of precious wildlife as governments of these countries continue to permit such ruthless vile hunting all in the name of big bags of blood money from the filthy rich who have no better use for their evil money. The short sightedness of these misguided governments is at the detriment of all wild life in their counties which does not seem to have to abide with any international wild life laws. Man will never stop their unconscionable digesting thirst for killing until every animal is gone format this god forsaken planet. God help the future generations whip would be left with an overpopulated planet of ruthless blood thirsty animal killers with no animal left to kill!! What a terrifying thought!

  2. James
    Emporia Ks,
    November 25, 2013, 8:57 pm

    Is that a Sumatran Rhino ?

  3. micro jobs
    June 9, 2013, 2:52 am

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  4. Je-ann Atkins
    May 4, 2013, 5:50 am

    Hi, Remy also emailed me this morning. It was a little suspicious to me that he will bring the car, I was wondering who will take him home again. So I googled the name and found this page, thank you all for now Im sertain this is a scam. Seems like he’s busy on all sites, cause this was a add on Automart and Junkmail tells you exactly what he will email you. Thank You

  5. Gert van Heerden
    South Africa
    May 3, 2013, 2:19 pm

    It seems like this Remy Flera guy who claims he’s working for National Geographic is a real busy guy, with selling so called cheap cars on junkmail.co.za. The only thing he does’nt know, is that there is something like the internet where you can do some research. Thank you A van Zyl, I’ve smelled something fishy from the start with this guy.

  6. A van zyl
    April 26, 2013, 4:40 am

    Hi Martin Oosthuizen, it is a scam.
    e-bay does not require you to pay upfront, and this person is by no means an employee of National Geographic. The domain name for his email is also incorrect.

    Don’t deposit any money!

  7. A van zyl
    South Africa
    April 26, 2013, 4:27 am

    Hi Martin Oosthuizen, I also have been contacted by said Remy Flera, claiming to be ceo of National Geographic, and seeling a VW Golf for only R24 000.
    Is this the same contact that you have had?

  8. Martin Oosthuizen
    south africa
    April 25, 2013, 4:20 am

    I just want to find out if you have a Remy flera working for you? I want to buy something from him but it sounds to good to be true and living in SA you have to make sure about stuff like that

  9. Lucienne Walters
    April 16, 2013, 7:40 pm

    Why is this butchering of rhinos simply allowed? Is it because the South African government is making vast amounts of money from it and /or they are cosying up to the east (specifically China) in the same way they would not allow the Dalai Llama a visa so that he could not enter South Africa? In my view if you’re capable of doing the latter, the former is a picnic. And the local Africans never say a word against this truly horrible crime against defenceless animals. I only found out the other day that a rhino can scream. I wish I had’nt heard it. It haunts me daily.

  10. Susanna oosthuizen
    South Africa
    April 12, 2013, 5:32 am

    Please watchthis shocking video of mutilated rhino cow left alive by poachers (link below). We report on the situation weekly, being close to the Kruger National Park – and can tell you the situation is dire to say the least.



  11. Holly Nagy
    March 2, 2013, 5:22 am

    The more i read the more disgusted i am. first because of what i am assuming is an otherwise intelligent group of people is being duped into thinking that rhino horns actually cure anything and secondly because they know how these horns are obtained. wake up folks heres a great example of how a market is created on peoples ignorance and you are buying into it. shame on you for being so stupid and condoning the killing of these animals in such a cruel horrific manner. your money would be better spent on common sense.

  12. Phil Kerr
    Colorado, United States
    January 22, 2013, 8:02 pm

    Poaching is a crime deserving of equal retribution. If the governments of any country would allow for the hunting of poachers – even open them up for hunting season with bounties, licenses for each poacher’s scalp – I promise you I will volunteer – and the poaching will stop.

  13. jacqui cattanach
    January 14, 2013, 1:57 pm

    I am really sad with the increasing amount of brutality against these creatures. I have signed up to do the london marathon for this cause, any donations would be appreciated; http://wwwgivengain.com (project name: race for rhinos: jacqui cattanach

  14. grace
    new york
    January 13, 2013, 12:47 pm

    this is a great article so sad that people would want to kill these beautiful animals

  15. Martin Cronje
    Limpopo South Africa
    January 13, 2013, 12:24 pm

    I work for a small company that provides protection for farms regarding poaching. Whe are trying our best but some farmers can’t afford to pay for the services. So now I ask where can we get help to help the farmers?????????

    January 13, 2013, 4:46 am

    I live an hour north of Sydney Australia and feel helpless in trying to save the wildlife from these inhuman parasites who kill the magnificent rhino, elephant or lion for money, for their horn or for trophy hunting ….its worst than barbaric, they are sub-human. But what I can do is not holiday in Vietnam and tell everyone to boycott Vietnamese imported goods and sponsors of Trophy Hunting websites.

  17. Cayle Michael Guillome Barsby
    United Kingdom
    January 12, 2013, 5:31 am

    That treaty was apparently dropped at the last minute by Vietnam

    Dorset England
    January 12, 2013, 5:24 am

    What do Rinos use their horns for if its not for defense could not the horns be removed I know this may be very difficult but its just a thought?

  19. John Platt
    January 11, 2013, 7:50 pm

    “Group says”? This is an official count from the South African government.