Just six weeks into the new year, at least 54 rhinos have been slaughtered for their horns.
If the killing continues at this rate, it is expected that by the end of the year at least 450 rhinos will have been killed by criminal syndicates.
In KwaZulu-Natal, six rhinos have been killed (this appears to exclude the two latest deaths at Chicks Game Lodge). Last week, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife also confirmed that two white rhino carcasses had been found close together in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park on Wednesday. A third white rhino was poached in the Ndumo reserve on Thursday.
In both cases, the carcasses were found shortly after the animals had been shot. The poachers had fled before they could remove horns from two of the three rhinos. The latest deaths bring to at least 950 the number of rhinos poached since January 2009.
The CEO of SANParks, Dr David Mabunda, said: “It is worrying that we are still losing such a high number of rhinos throughout the country. The most encouraging area in this whole saga is the increasing number of arrests and the steeper sentences that are being imposed.
Things don’t look good for the rhinos. They are still being slaughtered for horns used in traditional medicine. Superstition kills.