Poaching pushing South African rhino towards edge

Mar 08, 2013
An adult white rhino looks on at the Entabeni Safari Conservancy, Limpopo, north east of Johannesburg on July 31, 2012. South Africa's white rhino population will begin to decline by 2016 if the current rate of poaching continues, authorities warned, following the killing of scores of the creatures this year.

South Africa's white rhino population will begin to decline by 2016 if the current rate of poaching continues, authorities warned on Friday, following the killing of scores of the creatures this year.

The stark warning was issued by the country's Environment Minister Edna Molewa on the sidelines of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok.

"We think we will start to have problems around the year 2016," she said, adding 146 have been killed illegally since the start of the year with 50 suspected arrested over the same period.

Some 668 rhinos were slaughtered in 2012, a grim record that on current trends will be surpassed this year.

The white rhino population is estimated at just over 18,000 and its is higher than , according to Fundisile Mketani, an official from the nation's Department of the Environment.

But "with this (poaching) trend by 2016—if we do not stop it—then we will see a decline", he added. "We will then be in crisis."

Rhinos are hunted for their horn, which is worth thousands of dollars in Asia where it is believed to have medicinal qualities.

They have been registered since 1977 under Appendix I of CITES, banning the trade in their parts and are one of the key species under scrutiny at the convention, along with whose numbers have been decimated over recent years.

Horns from the legal trophy hunting of in South Africa and neighbouring Swaziland are exempt from the ban—a move some conservationists say has saved the species by encouraging game reserves to maintain large populations.

Kenya had submitted a proposal for a moratorium on the trophy trade, but withdrew it on Thursday.

Molewa "welcomed" the withdrawal of Kenya's proposal saying it would have ended the use of trophy hunting as a "management tool that can be sustainable and beneficial to the conservation of the species".

Explore further: PacifiCorp Energy pleads guilty in bird deaths (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

South Africa mulls legal rhino horn trade

Feb 28, 2013

South Africa is exploring the legal trade of rhino horn to counter a poaching bloodbath that has surged despite tighter security controls, the environment minister said Thursday.

South Africa rhino poaching hits record: WWF

Nov 03, 2011

Rhino poaching in South Africa has hit a new record high, with 341 of the animals lost to poachers so far this year as black-market demand for rhino horn soars, wildlife group WWF said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Study finds tropical fish moving into temperate waters

Dec 19, 2014

Tropical herbivorous fish are beginning to expand their range into temperate waters – likely as a result of climate change – and a new international study documents the dramatic impact of the intrusion ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.