Poaching Escalates as Officials Recognize World Rhino Day

world rhino day close up photo

Photo credit: World Wildlife Fund

Already this year, 287 rhinos have been killed in South Africa alone—16 of them critically endangered black rhinos. This startling spike in poaching sets a dark background for September 22, World Rhino Day.

In spite of the increase in poaching activity, South African officials have already made 165 arrests, including an 11-member poaching ring thought to be responsible for the deaths of 20 rhinos.

Still, poachers, driven by demand in Asian medicine markets, utilize advanced techniques to acquire the horns—each one worth a small fortune on the black market—and are willing to risk arrest or worse to accomplish their goal.

world rhino day rhino profile photo

Photo credit: World Wildlife Fund

As the year's body count rockets towards 2010's all-time record of 333 dead rhinos, officials in South Africa are preparing to meet with delegations from China and Vietnam—the two countries most closely associated with black-market rhino horn sales.

For the threatened rhinos of South Africa—and the conservation officers that struggle to protect them—an international agreement that addresses both the supply and the demand driving the poaching trade can't come soon enough.

Read more about rhinos:
Rhino Poaching in South Africa Reaches a New Record
193 Rhinos Killed in South Africa So Far This Year
Does Protecting Endangered Rhinos Conflict With Traditional Chinese Medicine?

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