By Kevin Heath
Latest rhino poaching statistics from the South African government today show that 725 rhinoceros have been killed illegally in the country so far this year. Current trends mean that as many as 1011 rhinos could be killed for their horn by the end of the year.
There seems to be no halt to the killing of the animals and the trend seems to continue to increase. Questions have been asked about whether South Africa’s plans to ask for permission from CITES to sell rhino horn may be behind the increasing frequency of killings.
It has been just a couple of weeks since World Rhino Day on 22nd September. On the eve of the day South Africa released figures to show that 688 rhino had been killed – surpassing the entire total in 2012. In just 2 weeks since that event there has been 37 extra deaths of rhinoceros bringing the total to the year to 725.
The Environmental Investigation Agency in analysing the statistics released by the South African government declared that since plans for a legal rhino horn trade were announced the weekly number of rhino killed had increased from 15.26 to 18.6. That weekly toll on the animals continue to increase and using todays figures of 725 the average weekly killings since the announcement has increased to 19.4.
If current trends continue unabated then the total number of rhino that are killed could surpass the 1,000 mark and reach 1011. That would be a terrible toll on one of the world’s iconic species.
With the weekly average now a just a whisper short of 20 rhino a week the killings are getting perilously close to the number at which the species will not be able to breed quickly enough to replace those that have been poached. More....