Last year, a record 668 rhinos were poached for their horns, but that figure now looks likely to be eclipsed in 2013 with 618 rhinos dead and three months left of the year. There are around 18,000 white and 4,000 black rhinos in the country.
The dramatic growth in rhino poaching in South Africa, up from just 13 in 2007, has largely been driven by demand in Asia, in particular Vietnam, where rhino horn is seen as a status symbol. A survey of 720 people in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, published earlier this month, found that typical buyers were “educated, successful and powerful individuals” and use rhino horn for social networking.
Anti-poaching efforts are turning to technology, such as drones, as well as attempting to elevate the problem from a conservation to a national security issue. In the next fortnight, the US will crush its 6m tonne stockpile of seized ivory in a symbolic act of destruction to raise awareness of the problem.
Source: The Guardian