Rhino Poaching is on the Rise Again in South Africa

Feeding appetites in Asia and the Middle East, where rhino horns are often used in traditional medicines or as cultural artifacts. South African and Asian governments, as well as Interpol, have struggled for decades to curb this illicit global trade, where each horn can fetch tens of thousands of dollars. According to South African government data, 451 rhinos were killed last year, a 13 percent spike from 2020 when pandemic lockdowns thwarted criminal syndicates. About 249 rhinos have already been killed in the first six months of this year, 10 more than during the same period in 2021. Now, animal conservationists are trying to save South Africa’s rhinos by moving them out of threatened areas and into new habitats with strong security and strategic conservation methods. The hope is that this will allow the rhinos to seed large breeding herds, protecting the species for future generations. Some are being sent to neighboring countries such as Mozambique — part of an extraordinary, Noah’s ark-like effort to create cross-border sanctuaries, repopulate depleted national parks, and restore ecosystems that can fight climate change and attract tourists.


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