African rhino poaching crisis
Fueled by demand from Asian medicine marketAlthough there is no scientific proof of its medical value, rhino horn is highly prized in traditional Asian medicine, where it is ground into a fine powder or manufactured into tablets as a treatment for a variety of illnesses such as nosebleeds, strokes, convulsions, and fevers.
Organized poaching gangsThis demand has created highly profitable and organized international poaching criminal syndicates who deploy advanced technologies ranging from night vision scopes, silenced weapons, darting equipment and helicopters to carry out their mission.
According to Dr Joseph Okori, head of WWF's African Rhino Programme:
"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."
“The rhino poaching trend is extremely worrying. If it is not stopped, the world could lose African rhinos. This is a tragedy we do not want to contemplate.”
Hundreds of rhinos poached each yearThanks to successful conservation efforts, Southern Africa is now home to the majority of Africa's surviving rhinos.
Even so, South Africa – home to more than 80% of Africa’s rhino populations – is losing hundreds of rhinos each year. In this country alone:
- 122 rhinos were killed in 2009
- 333 rhinos were killed in 2010
- 388 rhinos have been killed so far in 20121
Continued action neededAlthough both black and white rhino populations are growing healthily overall, some subspecies are still listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Continued poaching could see Africa’s rhinos slide over the brink, into extinction.
What you can do
- Don't buy rhino horn products! Illegal trade in rhino horn is a continuing problem, posing one of the greatest threats to rhinos today.
- Donate towards much-needed anti-poaching equipment and support for rangers across Africa.
South Africans / Residents of other countries
Donations will go towards:
- night-vision gear
- bullet-proof armour
- rhino tracking
- camping equipment
- training for guards
Read more about WWF-South Africa's campaign.