On Monday 27th February the South African government released the official rhino poaching statists for 2016.
Minister Edna Molewa reported that the number of rhino carcasses found in 2016 as a result of poaching was 1,054. This is down on the 2015 total of 1,175. According to the official numbers, the world famous Kruger National Park also saw a reduction in poaching in 2016, with 662 rhinos lost compare to 826 in 2015.
While it is encouraging that the total rhinos poached in South Africa is officially down for the second year running, these numbers remain far from a cause for celebration. They show that in 2016 we still LOST ALMOST THREE RHINOS PER DAY to poachers. This number is still far too high and continues to put the rhino on a course to extinction in the wild.
Helping Rhinos CEO Simon Jones commented "We all need to see some hope that our collective work is yielding results. These numbers should give some hope, but they also show there is a lot of work for us to do. We must continue to find ways to work together and to all play our part if we are to see significant reductions in the number of rhinos poached in the future."
Also reported by Minister Molewa was the fact that 680 poachers and traffickers were arrested in 2016, compared to 317 in 2015. 417 of those arrests were related to poaching activity in the Kruger National Park. 148 firearms were seized within Kruger with just 6 seizures outside of the park boundaries.
In summary, we should see these latest poaching statistics as a small sign of encouragement, but as a far greater indication of the level of work that is still be done. We cannot do that work without your support so we ask you to join us on the difficult but essential journey that lies ahead if we are to save our rhino for future generations.
Read the full press release here