Rhino Poaching Dropped 10 Percent in South Africa Last Year

A black rhino in one of South Africa's national parks.

A black rhino in one of South Africa's national parks. Martin Harvey/WWF-Canon

Rhino poaching in South Africa fell for the second year in a row in 2016, dropping 10 percent to 1,054 rhinos killed for their horns, according to government data. In the nation’s hotspot for poaching, Kruger National Park, wildlife managers recorded a 20 percent drop in killings.

South Africa has more than 80 percent of the world’s rhinoceroses, with an estimated 18,000 white rhinos and 2,000 black rhinos. As incomes in Asian countries rose in the early 2000s, demand for the animals’ horns spiked and the nation’s poaching problem drastically escalated. According to Reuters, 83 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa in 2008. By 2014, that number had risen to 1,215.

South African officials credited declines in poaching over the past two years to more rigorous monitoring and increased arrests by wildlife agencies and park rangers. Governments like South Africa also have increasingly been using forensics techniques, like DNA analysis, to track the sale of animal products internationally and disrupt illegal poaching and smuggling rings.