Rhino poaching levels drop in 2015

A total of 1 175 rhino were poached across South Africa in 2015, compared to 1 215 for the year before. The majority of the rhino killed – 826 – were killed in Kruger National Park. 

The news was announced by Edna Molewa, minister for environmental affairs, at a press briefing on Thursday.

It is the first time in nearly a decade that the number of rhino poached has not increased year-on-year. Molewa said this was despite a continuing war between poachers and conservation officials: “I am pleased to announce that for the first time in a decade the poaching situation has stabilised.”

Last year was also unusually in that the spike in poaching in December – a pattern present in every previous year – did not come, she said.

That spike had seen continual jumps in the rate of poaching since 2007, where only 13 rhino were killed across the country. That number rose sharply to 1 004 in 2013 and 1 215 in 2014, before decreasing last year.

Data released by the South African National Parks Board found that, despite a thousand rhino being killed in each of the last three years, their numbers had stabilised. This meant that between 8 400 and 9 300 white rhino still roam the Kruger Park. A further 5 000 rhino are in the hands of private and communal owners.

Kruger Park has borne the brunt of poaching in the last few years, with poachers using the easy transit routes and open border with Mozambique to kill rhino and retreat before they are caught.

Molewa said a big part of the reduction had come about thanks to community engagement in anti-poaching initiatives. Her department would spend R7-billion over the next 14-years to better manage rhino populations. This would include a big drive to ensure rhino were transferred to previously disadvantaged communities and entrepreneurs, she said.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sipho Kings
Sipho is the Mail & Guardian's News Editor. He also does investigative environment journalism.
Advertisting

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

M&G’s latest Covid-19 projections

Covid-19 numbers are prompting disaster declarations and dramatic action across South Africa this week. All steps should be directed by numbers

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories