This World Rhino Day, WWF South Africa would like to pay tribute to all the men and women working at all levels of our society to save our rhinos.
These rhino heroes range from rhino monitors acting at community level to safeguard rhinos on the ground to committed conservationists working to increase rhino populations through projects such as WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project.
Since the upsurge of the rhino poaching crisis just over a decade ago many people have been defending our animals and parks at great personal cost.
According to official statistics, some 6 680 rhinos have been poached across South Africa, home to 80% of Africa’s rhino population, since the poaching crisis was reignited in 2006 (this figure includes the July 2017 figure supplied by the South African government).
Sadly, it seems likely that 2017 will once again exceed the 1000 poaching mark for rhinos for the fifth year in a row. In addition, poachers are now shifting their attention to vulnerable populations in KwaZulu-Natal, and elsewhere in the country beyond the Kruger National Park.
We know that other countries across Africa, such as Zimbabwe, have brought rhino poaching under control in the past, and that rhinos show remarkable recovery where they are well-managed and well-secured within good habitat. Globally, we need to see similar commitment from other key players in the transit and consumer countries towards addressing the demand for illegal horn and illicit supply routes from Africa to Asia. We owe it to the hardworking heroes on the ground to match their efforts.”
WWF SA commissioned a few memes for today. The artwork for the memes is by Don Guy, an artist and filmmaker who made the first film about our Black Rhino Range Expansion Project.