By Duncan Alfreds
With over 500 rhino killed in South Africa this year, the point is nearing where the population will begin to decline, a conservation organisation has said.
"Things are looking pretty depressing right now, I think everyone would agree. We're also getting ever closer to the point where the numbers actually do start declining," Dr Jo Shaw, Rhino Co-ordinator for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) told News24.
According to the department of environmental affairs (DEA), 553 rhino have been poached in SA so far this year. This is on course to nearly double the 668 total of 2012, which was also significantly higher than the 448 poached in 2011.
Nearly half, or 345 rhino, were poached in the Kruger National Park, according to the DEA.
Despite the public outcry and several military-style operations by rangers to arrest poachers, the impact has not resulted in a significant reduction in poaching.
"I don't think there's any one simple solution, and I don't think there's any one simple problem," said Shaw.
The DEA said that 148 poachers have been arrested in 2013, compared to 267 last year, and 232 in 2011, but the WWF said that the focus should be pointed to Asia while continuing to target local poachers. More....