The year has not started well for South Africa's rhinos. Five of the animals have already been killed since New Year's Day, and if the recent past is any indication, many more victims will follow.
Overall, it has been an atrocious few years for South Africa's rhinos. Poachers in the country continue to illegally slaughter an alarming number of the animals. Last year alone, 333 rhinos were murdered in South Africa, including 10 critically endangered black rhinos.
That total is the highest ever recorded in the country and is almost three times the previous year's death toll of 122.
At the end of the 19th century, the white rhino population stood at less than 200. Thanks to strong conservation efforts, the rhino population now exceeds 20,000. So why are these majestic animals being killed? A belief among some people that rhino horns can cure cancer is fueling demand for the horns in Asia (particularly in Vietnam).
You can help. Please step up and speak out against the slaughter of African rhinos.
|This rhino survived 35 hours after being shot twice and having her horn sawed off.
chris.corwin/CC by 2.0
Written by Joseph Mayton