I think that most of us are probably ready for the coronavirus issue to be done, but the same can’t be said for rhinos. After all, the number of South African rhinos that are being poached has been cut by 50% in the first 6 months of 2020.
It is thought that the coronavirus lockdown and the disruptions to the smuggling rings operating internationally have contributed to the drop, according to The Guardian.
Barbara Creecy from the Minister of environment, forestry, and fisheries said that 166 rhinos were poached in the first half of 2020 in South Africa. During the first 6 months of 2019, 316 rhinos were poached.
“After a decade of implementing various strategies… efforts are paying off,” Creecy said. “We have been able to arrest the escalation of rhino losses.”
Creecy said that the effort to restrict movement during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a “striking” effect on the number of rhino poachings this year, according to a statement released by the South African Government.
For the first time in a decade, no rhinos were killed inside of the intensive protection zone in April at Kruger National Park. Although the news is generally good, there is a discussion about the number of rhino poaching incidents increasing as parks begin to reopen.
Compared to 2019, February of this year had a 23% decline in rhinos being poached and a 43% decline in elephant poaching.
“A decline in poaching for five consecutive years is a reflection of the diligent work of the men and women who put their lives on the line daily to combat rhino poaching, often coming into direct contact with ruthless poachers,” the minister said last year.
The minister spoke about people who were dedicated to protecting the natural heritage of the nation. This tribute, which was in connection with World Ranger Day, shows just how much of a difference they made, even during the pandemic.
“Our rangers have remained at the forefront of the battle against poaching, despite the National Lockdown, contributing to the decrease in poaching. In this time, rangers have had to face not only the threats posed by poachers, but they, and their families, have also had to deal with the danger of contracting Covid-19,” the minister said.
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