SA’s illegal rhino killings up after virus curbs ended

The easing of final yr’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions on motion in South Africa was dangerous information for its rhinos, with the quantity illegally killed within the first half of 2021 up sharply.

Rhinoceros killed for his or her horns in South Africa, which has the world’s greatest inhabitants of the mammals, rose to 249 within the six months via June from 166 in the identical interval a yr in the past, the Division of Forestry, Fisheries and the Surroundings stated in an announcement. That’s nonetheless down from 318 within the comparable 2019 interval.

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As ordinary, killings have been notably rife in Kruger Nationwide Park, the place 132 of the animals have been killed via the top of June.

“Whereas the nationwide lockdown that curbed the motion of individuals to halt the unfold of the virus in 2020 contributed to a lower in rhino poaching, the lifting of the stringent lockdown rules seems to have seen a rise in rhino poaching,” the ministry stated.

South Africa is residence to about 20 000 white rhinos and accounts for extra the 90% of the world’s inhabitants of the species.

Demand for the animals’ horns in East Asia, the place they’re believed by some folks to remedy most cancers and increase virility, has led to a pointy improve in poaching over the past decade. White rhinos are the commonest of the world’s 5 species and South Africa additionally has a small inhabitants of black rhinos.

The South African authorities stated Saturday that collaboration with Southeast Asian international locations to fight unlawful commerce in rhino horns is starting to point out outcomes.

South African and Vietnamese authorities labored collectively to impact “one of many largest seizures of rhino horns and different wildlife merchandise thereby disrupting syndicate actions,” it stated.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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