South Africa: 455 Rhinos Killed in 289 Days

At least 455 rhinos have been illegally killed in South Africa between 01 January and 16 October 2012. Image © Annamiticus

The number of rhinos illegally killed in South Africa between January 1st and October 16th, 2012, has reached 455 — exceeding 2011’s total of 448 victims.

207 suspects have been arrested in South Africa for rhino crimes during the same time period. Of the 455 rhinos lost to the illegal trade, 272 were killed in the famous Kruger National Park. The provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, and the North West continue to be targeted, collectively accounting for 150 rhinos killed.

Rhino horn is generally destined for illegal markets in China and Vietnam. Rhino horn has officially been removed from the Chinese medicine pharmacopeia; however, its use in China continues. Non-traditional uses for rhino horn — such as a hangover cure or general health tonic — have emerged among the newly rich in Vietnam.

There is no evidence to support claims of rhino horn’s medicinal effectiveness.

South Africa did not submit a legal rhino horn trade proposal for the upcoming CITES CoP16 — encouraging news, considering the world’s leading wildlife trade experts agree that a legal rhino trade in South Africa will not solve the country’s rhino crisis.


Source: South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs

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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.