ADDIS ABABA – The South African government says there has been a one-third fall in the number of rhinos killed by poachers, partly attributed to Covid-19 lockdowns
But conservationists warn poaching remains a big problem and that the rhino population in South Africa has plummeted in recent years.
South Africa’s environment ministry said 394 rhinos were killed for their horns in the country last year – compared with nearly 600 recorded in 2019.
Environment Minister Barbara Creecy said strict anti-Covid measures had led to “a significant reduction in poacher incursions” to the Kruger National Park, where most poaching takes place.
She said other factors included an increased presence of rangers and security personnel.
But conservation groups say the South African government is overstating its success.
They say the Kruger rhino population has fallen by 70% in the past decade.
And that to really tackle poaching – governments need to address the deeper factors involved in trafficking, including a lack of other economic opportunities.
Featured Image: South Africa is home to about 80% of Africa’s rhino population [photo AFP]