Rhinos Poached in South Africa – 2013/2014

IUCN’s Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) African Rhino Specialist Group Statistics – show that poaching is getting worse in certain areas in South Africa in 2014, despite the law. The graph above shows us that 254 more rhinos have been poached in South Africa in 2014 since 2013. In other areas such as KwaZula-Natal (KZN) and Mpumalanga (MP) the amount of poaching that has taken place in 2013 and 2014 have roughly stayed the same. EC Cape Town,(EC) Free State Central,(FS) and Cape Town Grand Prix(GP) show little poaching taking place – this is because less rhinoceroses live here.

De-horning the rhinos doesn’t mean that they have to be killed for them to be de-horned, although some poachers would kill; this is to make the job easier for themselves. There is risks to the rhinos whilst de-horning them, alive. It can cause them much pain; some poachers would put the rhino under certain anaesthetics to knock them out; There is a 5% risk that the rhinos will die, due to the sedative. Poachers are known to kill alive rhinos that have already been de-horned, to avoid finding them again and facing disappointment. Generally, when poachers take the horn from the rhino, they take it from the growth layer of their skin; if the horn is taken from the uproot, the rhino is left with no chance of their horn growing back – this can lead to infection, and in many circumstances, death.

De-horning is a very expensive process – it can cost up to $620 per rhino in National Parks and can vary even more if the rhino is living on someones private land. De-horning the rhino takes around 30 minutes, although the whole process with anaesthetics can take around 40 minutes to 1 hour. Many people debate about de-horning, and whether or not rhinoceroses even need their horns – although it is a fact that their horns are used for different behavioral functions, which help them survive in the wild – such as: breaking branches and digging up water. But for what? A medicine which is not scientifically proven to help cure any illness. This is unfair for the rhinos, and poaching needs to be stopped.

Now’a days, all that us citizens can do, is raise awareness. But, sadly – not enough awareness appears to be raised. Local communities close to the rhinos need to start getting involved with rhino conservation programmes, to see the benefits and spread the word to others about the importance before rhinos become extinct. If not enough awareness is raised, our children will sadly have no recognition of these amazing creatures.