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Rhino Poaching in South Africa Sees Marginal Decline in 2022, Ministry Says

© AP Photo / Renee GrahamIn this Wednesday, March 8, 2017 file photo, three rhinos line up at the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Limpopo province, South Africa.
In this Wednesday, March 8, 2017 file photo, three rhinos line up at the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Limpopo province, South Africa. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.02.2023
Africa is inhabited by two rhino species – white and black. The estimated number of white and black rhinos in Africa today is about 22,000. Since 2017, there have been 2,707 rhino poaching incidents on the continent, 90% of which happened in South Africa, according to a report by the International Rhino Foundation.
The number of rhino poaching incidents in South Africa marginally declined in 2022, as national parks saw more patrols, the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment said in its Monday statement.
A total of 448 rhinos were poached last year - three fewer than in 2021.
Barbara Creecy, the country's minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, linked the decline in rhino poaching in national parks to “the relentless war” that has been waged by the authorities.

"The steady decline in rhino poaching in national parks is related to the relentless war that has been waged by our fearsome anti-poaching machinery as well as a comprehensive dehorning programme," Creecy said. "This year’s outcome shows that collaboration between conservation authorities, the South African Police Services, revenue authorities and international agencies works."

In 2022, the Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa became the only national park to lose rhinos, with 124 of them poached, which is a 40% decrease compared to 2021.
The KwaZulu-Natal province in the southeast of the country lost 244 rhinos, with 228 of them killed in its provincial parks and the other 16 in privately owned reserves.
The total number of privately owned rhinos killed across South Africa in 2022 amounts to 86, per the statement.
Speaking about the decline in rhino poaching incidents, Creecy emphasized the efficiency of the anti-poaching efforts and urged the provincial authorities of KwaZulu-Natal to follow this model.
“We believe that if provincial authorities in KwaZulu-Natal follow our model, they will be able to significantly curb rhino poaching in their provincial parks before it is too late,” Creecy said.
The threat of rhino poaching in the country persists, as South Africa is inhabited by nearly 80% of the total number of rhinos in the world. While Africa is trying to cope with this problem, rhinos are endangered worldwide, as they are hunted for the value of their horns.
Meanwhile, rhino populations in Africa tend to decrease in state-run parks, where they are mostly kept, another study by scholars from the University of Helsinki in Finland and the Universities of Stellenbosch and Nelson Mandela in South Africa says.
One horned Rhinoceros graze at the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. The sanctuary is known for its Indian one-horned rhino population.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.01.2023
African Rhino Population Declining in State-Run Parks, Growing on Private Lands, Study Reveals
According to the study, over the past decade, the lives of 76% of white rhinos and 68% of black ones were lost in the South Africa's Kruger National Park, with the number of rhinos in privately owned places growing over the same time.
Apart from that, in 2022, 10 African states signed a letter condemning the EU’s refusal to accept a planned ban on the commercial trading of hippo products, despite the fact that because of poaching for hippo meat and ivory, the hippo populations in five other African countries have ceased to exist.
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