Despite efforts to prevent the poaching of many of Africa’s large and beautiful wild animals, the numbers of rhinos being poached in Africa has risen for the sixth year in a row in 2015, as reported by the International Union of the Conversation of Nature (IUCN).
The IUCN notes that there were approximately 1,138 known rhino poaching cases in 2015, and that doesn’t even count the ones that may not have been recorded. This is the highest number of rhino casualties in Africa since 2008, and to date, about 5,940 rhinos have been killed illegally.
“The extensive poaching for the illegal trade in horn continues to undermine the rhino conservation successes made in Africa over the last two decades,” says Mike Knight of the IUCN.
Notably, efforts to prevent poaching of elephants in some parts of Africa appear to be helping, but still, rhinos aren’t exactly as lucky. Poaching continues to impact the rhino’s numbers across the continent, making it difficult for the animal to repopulate.
Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a fall in the rhino’s numbers just yet, but if poaching trends in Africa continue at the rate they’re going, that could change in just a few years.
Rhino’s valuable horns are right up there with elephant tusks, and demand for them is high. As a result, criminals trap and kill these animals to steal their horns, which are being illegally trafficked to Asian nations like China, South Korea, and Vietnam that believe the horns have medicinal properties.
For poachers, the risk is all worth it, because the horns have a very high resale value on the black market. The only way to make this stop is to make the punishment more severe than the reward.
In some locations, such as Kenya, where stricter laws have been implemented against poaching rhinos, poaching has declined, but there are still many other regions throughout Africa that aren’t doing enough to keep poachers at bay, hence why poachers are taking advantage of the black market.
The hope is to get rhinos back on an upwards population trend, and prevent another species from getting into the dangerous numbers.