World Rhino Day marked by bleak poaching statistics

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Charlize, a rhino nearing maturity was living in a secure boma on a game reserve in Muldersdrift, when she was shot and dehorned by poachers on Monday.

SOUTH AFRICA - Tuesday marks the 5th World Rhino Day. South Africa is home to over 70 percent of African rhinos, the endangered species whose number dropped sharply to under 20,000 due to rampant poaching.

Poaching has become the leading threat to the rhinos’ survival, with official statistics indicating 1,215 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa in 2014. 

 

 

As of September 2015, the figure stood at over 750 for the year, with people starting to worry that rhinos will soon disappear in the country.

 

 

In the past two years, the South African government has increased the protection of rhinos by deploying armed guards and hounds around their living areas.

In some of the most heavily poached regions, extreme methods, including poison and dehorning are used to stem the poaching tide.

 

 

Local residents are also calling for the protection of rhinos.

But official statistics indicate these actions have had little effect, with poaching still rampant in many places.

 

 

The head of the Wildlife Environment Society of South Africa said rhinos poaching nowadays is more than an animal protection issue. It has devolved into a serious global problem.

He said, "This is no longer an environmental issue. We’re dealing with people’s lives here, this is a social issue, and it&39;s a global issue as well. South Africa currently has the resources, and those countries where the products are going to have equal responsibility to stopping this situation.

"A massive task on the hands in terms of inlining the states and departments that can play role in this, your police forces, and your science and defense force, your army and your judicial system etc.

"It takes time, and from our side, it&39;s a concern because the rhinoceros don&39;t necessary have that time. We need to act faster."