South Africa has something to be happy about because the loss of rhinos at the hands of poachers has shown a downward trend. Poachers kill them for their horns but the incidents appear to be growing fewer, thanks to various measures taken by the authorities. The Department of Environmental Affairs has substantiated this by statistics. In the first eight months of 2018, the number of rhinos killed had dropped by nearly 26 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. In fact, since 2014, the numbers have been going down. It was 1,215 in 2014 but fell to 691 last year and 508 in the current year.

Sky News reports that South Africa has more than 80 percent of the world's population of rhinos and they include both the black and white varieties. They live in the wildlife reserves and national parks and numbers of them are on private farms. The drop in poaching is attributed to several factors like the arrest of suspects and very active anti-poaching units.

Efforts to check loss of rhinos

In the opinion of the authorities of Kruger National Park, saving the rhinos is possible because of strict law enforcement coupled with relocating the animals.

However, in spite of implementing strict anti-poaching measures, poachers infiltrate through the Mozambique border. During their search operations, the police located a number of horns and took into custody persons from near the border with Mozambique. The worst part is that there are corrupt police who sometimes get involved in the activity.

Incidentally, these horns are composed of keratin which is the same substance found in human fingernails. The horns are normally sold in powdered form. The Chinese believe the powder can cure many diseases like fever, rheumatism and gout. Vietnam is another country where there is a demand and they also value the alleged medicinal properties.

World Rhino Day focuses on the plight of these animals

According to Times Live, the Department of Environmental Affairs statement announced the good news a day before World Rhino Day. It said that “dramatic declines” have been noticed in the poaching figures in recent times. The department has also added that a large number of people have been arrested on different charges. Among those arrested were some wildlife traffickers who were hoping to move horn to China and Vietnam. It is a crime to slaughter the animals for the sake of their horns that weigh hardly anything when compared to their total body weight.

As far as the white rhinos go, however, their numbers keep on depleting. They are often affected by drought with normal mortalities, and after a drought, their birth rate drops. These combine together to paint a not-too-happy picture and when poachers strike, the situation deteriorates even further.