One of the things I love the most about travelling to South Africa, is that we get the unique opportunity to see wild animals living in their natural habitat.
To me, there is nothing more beautiful than seeing a pride of lions caring for their cubs, new baby Springbok finding their feet, and the sound of a herd of Wildebeest running across the open plains… but it seems not everyone feels the same.
Poaching is now reaching critical levels in South Africa, and as the demand for ivory ornaments and rhino horn remains, and sadly grows, these magnificent species of elephants and rhinos that we all take for granted, will soon be gone for good.
South African minister Edna Molewa, finally issued a press release last week with the final poaching tally for 2012, and the statistics are very grim indeed.
In 2012, a total of 668 Rhino’s were poached in South Africa – almost 2 per day. Of those 668, 425 were poached in the Kruger National Park, 30 of which were poached in the last 11 days of 2012 alone.
This staggering figure is up 30% on the 2011 tally of 448 Rhino’s poached in South Africa, and up 50% on the 2010 total of 333. In the first few days of 2013, 5 Rhino’s have already been killed for their horn, indicating that this year may live up to its unlucky name for this endangered South African species.
With corruption rife, and an increasing demand for rhino horn, the fate of these gentle giants doesn’t look good, and if you dream of seeing the Big 5 on safari in Africa one day, you might want to go sooner rather than later!