South Africa: 373 Rhinos Killed in 248 Days

At least 373 rhinos have been illegally killed in South Africa during the first 248 days of 2012.

The massacre of South Africa’s iconic rhinos continues unabated, as the latest figures released by the government show a staggering 373 rhinos killed since the start of 2012.

Although 199 suspects have been arrested in South Africa for rhino crimes this year, none are at the “kingpin” level.

Vietnam was identified as one of the main destinations for rhino horn leaving South Africa, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries has been on the table since September 2011. In many cases, trophy hunting was utilized to launder illegal rhino horn obtained by Vietnamese “hunters”, while exports of live rhinos to Vietnam have coincidentally increased.

South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs stated earlier this week that the MoU would be signed at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which takes place next month in Hyderabad, India.

Meanwhile, the issue of South Africa’s recent exports of over 100 live rhinos to China — historically the largest consumer of rhino horn — remains unaddressed.

Since 2007, least 1,372 of South Africa’s rhinos have fallen victim to the illegal rhino horn trade.

Image #1 ©; image #2 © Annamiticus



Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.