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South Africa rhino poaching numbers fall as policing picks up

Jan 25, 2016 According to South Africa’s authorities, the number of Rhinos poached for their horns in the country fell in 2015.

Poaching rates had surged from 83 in 2008 to a record 1,215 in 2014 to meet the high demands by affluent Asian countries, where the horn is prized as a key ingredient in traditional medicines.

Speaking to this effect, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said:

“For the first time in a decade the poaching situation in South Africa has actually stabilised. Considering that this is despite escalating poaching pressure, and in the face of an increased and relentless rise of poaching activity into protected areas, this is very very good news and offered great cause for optimism,”

Conservation group WWF said a decline in poaching numbers was encouraging but that there was an alarming increase in neighboring countries.

While echoing that issue, Conservationist Allison Thomson said:

“It’s obviously a good sign that the security that people are putting in place are starting to show effect. Unfortunately you can’t look at it in isolation, any number in isolation, because the stats from 2014 for instance are stats on a much larger population base. The stats for 2015 are on a much smaller population base, so percentage-wise poaching could have actually increased because the population has decreased,”

Global trade in rhino horn is banned under the terms of a U.N. convention. Elsewhere in Africa elephant poaching for ivory has been rampant, with Asia also the main market for the illicit commodity

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