Rhino Poaching on the Rise

February 27, 2024

A sobering statistic out of South Africa today as they report an increase in rhino poaching. Almost 500 rhinos were killed for their horn in 2023, more than 60% of those in just one state park. While Kruger National Park has successfully deployed layers of security measures to adapt to the poaching crisis, other Parks haven’t taken the necessary steps to date to prevent these devastating losses.

According to a release by South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), Kruger National Park – once the hotspot for rhino poaching – saw another decrease with 78 rhinos poached in 2023. Poaching syndicates have continued to shift focus to other areas in Africa. South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal had an alarming 325 rhinos poached last year, the highest recorded in the province.

The DFFE attributes several interventions to Kruger National Park’s declining poaching rates:

  • Strong collaboration between external stakeholders permanently based in KNP and attending to various wildlife crime cases such as the Skukuza Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit, Skukuza SAPS and SAPS forensic teams.
  • An extensive and ongoing dehorning programme which focuses on the dehorning of all rhino in core areas.
  • The continued implementation of the KNP Ranger Services Integrity Management Plan which is a holistic approach that assesses the drivers and dynamics of corruption, and then addresses these with a comprehensive set of actions that focuses on building individual integrity and organisational resilience to corruption.
  • Improved access control through the installation of automated number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and gate cameras.
  • Radar detection systems that remotely track any illegal entry by poachers on foot into the KNP.

More than 10,000 rhinos have been poached in South Africa over the last 15 years. Help us keep rhinos protected.