The rhino crisis
Rhinos are a critically endangered species. There are less than 30,000 rhinos living in the wild today. At the start of the 20th century, there were over 500,000.
The western black rhino was declared extinct in 2011 and now the northern white rhino seems to be heading towards the same tragic fate. In March 2018, Sudan the last male northern white rhino was put down, highlighting the huge extinction crisis across the globe.
Human activity has caused this dramatic decline in rhino numbers. Initially numbers dropped due to hunting, but today the main threats to rhino are poaching, habitat loss and climate change.
9,300% is the increase in rhino poaching incidents in South Africa over the past 8 years. On average 3 rhinos are poached every day - only 1 in 100 will survive such an attack.
Habitat loss & climate change
Both Asian and African rhinos are constantly under serious threat due to the loss of their forest, grassland and marshland habitat – mainly due to human settlements, logging and expanding agriculture.
Illegal wildlife trade
The recent surge in rhino poaching is to fuel the increasing demand for rhino horn in Vietnam especially, where it's seen as a symbol of status and wealth.
This is Fatu - one of the last two Northern white rhinos left on this planet.
The latest from south africa
"At 769 recorded poaching incidents in South Africa in 2018, poaching numbers are still high. However, what does this decline mean for rhinos’ future?
In February 2019 the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, released the 2018 poaching numbers. Thankfully, the numbers show a decrease of 259 (1,028 rhino were poached in 2017).
But this positive sign does not mean rhinos are now thriving. It shows at least two rhinos were killed each day in 2018. Furthermore, the cumulative impact of the poaching crisis is taking its toll, as well as the prolonged drought affecting food and water resources.
Although the recent statistics are encouraging, 2019 has continued to bring news of rhino poaching incidents in South Africa: if the 2018 trend were to continue for 2019, then 88 rhinos could have already been poached this year.
The decline in the number of poached rhinos may demonstrate that the anti-poaching work taking place is having an effect, or it may also demonstrate that with significantly fewer rhinos surviving in the wild, it is getting harder for poachers to locate their prey. More action is needed to stop the illegal trade and ensure rhinos have a positive future. This means supporting anti-poaching work, but also good overall management of rhino populations by ensuring high-quality biological management."