This past January 16, high officials in South Africa issued a report documenting the impact that poaching activities in the year 2013 had on the country's rhino population.
On its website, the World Wildlife Fund says that, according to said report, over 1,000 rhinos were tracked down and slaughtered by poachers in South Africa in the year 2013 alone.
More precisely, it would appear that the country lost 1,004 animals belonging to this species.
The green group goes on to detail that, although poaching activities were documented all across the country, the Kruger National Park was by far the region that was hit the hardest.
Thus, it is said that as many as 606 rhinos inhabiting this area lost their lives after having a very close encounter with illegal hunters.
The World Wildlife Fund goes on to explain that, in the year 2012, a total of 668 rhinos were reported to have been killed by poachers in South Africa.
Otherwise put, it seems that, for some reason, illegal hunting activities in South Africa pretty much boomed in 2013.
“The South African government today revealed that a record 1004 rhinos were killed by poachers during 2013 across the country, the equivalent of nearly three animals a day,” the organization writes.
“The annual poaching figure is a sharp increase from the 668 rhinos lost in 2012, and brings South Africa’s rhino populations closer to a critical tipping point when deaths will begin to outnumber births driving the animals into a dangerous decline,” it adds.
To make things even worse, the South African government says that the year 2014 has not been off to a very good start either, at least as far as keeping poachers from killing rhinos is concerned.
Specifically, its report shows that, since January 1 until now, a total of 37 such animals have been killed and stripped of their horns.
“The bottom line is South Africa’s rhinos are up against the wall, facing a genuine crisis and agreements like these have to translate into meaningful action on the ground,” argues conservationist Dr. Jo Shaw.
Researchers estimate that, for the time being, this country is home to 80% of Africa's overall rhino population. Hence, efforts must be made to protect its biodiversity.