The Black and White African Rhinoceros are one the Big five games hunted in safaris. Just like Elephants, Rhinos are hunted for their horns. Their horns are used to make ornamental carvings, and local medicine.
In a move towards wildlife conversation, some wild life animals have been banned from being hunted. Recently South Africa placed a ban on Leopard hunting due to the inability to determine just how much Leopards were available to be hunted.
However, as a result of the high demand in Rhino horns, which are sold for up to $60,000 per kilogram, these animals are still killed illegally. This happens with the help of organized crime networks.
“Such networks control much of the illegal trade in wildlife, destabilizing communities and countries and corrupting government officials and structures. There is worrying evidence of the increasing involvement of Chinese citizens along with nationals from Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, as well as North Korea, in the illicit trade in rhino horn,” the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said in a press release.
The IUCN also stated that in what seems to be the highest record in a decade, at least 1,338 rhinos were killed illegally across Africa in 2015.
South Africa’s National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit reported that 1,215 rhinos were poached last year, making it twice the amount that was poached in South Africa 3 years ago.
With less than 3,000 black rhinos and just three white rhinos left, if the proliferating illegal slaughter continues, the animals would be extinct by 2026.
“If we continue with the current rate of losses, then I would estimate that within five to 10 years, all we will have is rhinos in very strictly controlled captivity scenarios and we will basically have lost the species in the wild,” Craig Bruce, a rhino specialist at the Zoological Society of London told the BBC.