South Africa is home to more than 80% of the worlds Rhino Population. There are currently only estimate 25 000 Rhinos left in the world. In 2017 alone 1028 Rhinos where poached (5% of the total Rhino population, one Rhino out of seven are victims of poaching activities) More than 300 South African farmers own Rhinos on their Private Game Farms and -Game Reserves. Most of these farmers are unfortunately unable to afford the effective protection of these Rhinos. The estimated livestock value of a Rhino Bull is R 153 000 ($10 200) and the Rhino Cow R 273 000 ($18 200 USD). Whilst the value of the front horn (4 kg)was trading for estimate R 970 000 ($65 000 USD) in 2014 to end purchasers and R 1.5 mil ($100 000 USD) per kg. The value of a 4 kg horn would be between R 3.5 to R 5.8 million.
Farmers are unable to effectively protect and manage Rhinos due to the low livestock value. It is important to keep in mind that a Rhinos natural environment consists of big terrains and it would be unfair to expect that Rhinos be kept in small enclosures. Most of the Rhinos owned by Private Farmers have no protection against poachers. Once information gets received that an attacked is planned on a farmer's Rhinos the farmer has no support from the local police, Nature Conservation Department, South African army or any other organization. The police sometimes offer their services after a Rhino have been poached, by then it is already too late, and another Rhino is lost forever. According to statistics from August 2017 359 poaching suspects where arrested and 15 court cases occurred from January 2018 during which 22 suspects where proved guilty and arrested for a total of 95 years jail imprisonment. During the past 4 years, 16% were arrested, these are level 1 poachers who are only replaced with another level 1 poacher.
Even though statistics show that there was a decline in poaching incidents in the Kruger National Park since June 2016 to June 2017, poaching incidents increased with 50% on Private Game Farms and – Game Reserves in the same period.
Dehorning the Rhinos have also not proven to make a difference since Rhinos are still poached for the small remaining piece of horn underneath the skin. Against the above-mentioned price, the remaining 1 kg piece is still considered worth the effort for poachers.
A tragically catastrophe is taking place before our eyes. If we do not act our Rhinos are facing extinction within the next 15 to 20 years.