Less than 2 years ago we were losing 1 rhino every 24 hours to poachers in South Africa. At the beginning of 2013 it was 1 rhino every 11 hours and, in a matter of months, it’s now standing at 1 rhino every 9 hours.
Want more information on rhino poaching? To see the tragic reality of what is happening to the rhino check out the website Stop Rhino Poaching (link below), but a warning: some of the images are distressing.
The exponential growth of the killing spree is due to the rapid rise in wealth in Asia and currently the main culprit causing the demise of the rhino are businessmen in Viet Nam. Since 2003 Vietnam has rapidly grown to become the world’s largest recipient of illegal sources of rhino horn from South Africa. Rhino horn trade and usage in this market had largely remained an undocumented mystery until a TRAFFIC report in 2012 [“The South Africa – Viet Nam Rhino Horn Trade Nexus”] identified the 3 key consumer groups and their motivations. The report also made it clear that even though Vietnam is a signatory to CITES, curtailing the trade into and inside the country would be exceedingly difficult. Multiple wholesale and sales channels exist once rhino horn enters the country and policing the borders is ineffective at this stage, as the very small amount of seized rhino horn illustrates.
TRAFFIC research predicted the rhino killings in South Africa in 2012 to be 532. In reality it was 668, 2.7% of the whole population. So far in 2013 we have lost 587 +.
Let’s not let the killing rate escalate to 1 in 8 hours – it’s time to slow down the clock so we don’t lose this iconic animal.