According to Save The Rhino, the rhino poaching crisis in Africa began in 2008 and worsened until 2015, with an increasing number of rhinos being killed for their horns.
This has, thankfully, dipped pretty significantly over the past few years, but one-thousand and twenty-eight rhinos were killed in 2017 and seven-hundred and sixty-nine were killed last year in South Africa alone.
The numbers are still high and it's not okay.
Last week, a group of men illegally entered the Kruger National Park in South Africa with the intention to poach rhinos there. One of the men, however, didn't make it out of the park alive. According to the South African National Parks agency, he was attacked by an elephant and then devoured by lions!
Read more on the story and the problem of poaching here!
Earlier this year, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs released the number of rhinos that were poached in 2018.
via: Getty ImagesThe numbers show a decrease from the previous year of two-hundred and fifty-nine. So things are looking up.
But poaching is still a huge problem in the country.
via: Getty ImagesSouth Africa is home to nearly 80% of the world’s rhinos and it's been hit the hardest by poachers.
2014 was the peak for rhino poaching.
via: ShutterstockIn 2015 alone, one-thousand and fifteen rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa. One-thousand and fifteen!
And despite the positive decrease in numbers...
via: ShutterstockStatistics show that if the 2018 trend continued this year, eighty-eight rhinos would have already been poached so far this year. That really puts things in perspective...
The decline in numbers is probably due to the anti-poaching work that is taking place in South Africa at the moment.
via: ShutterstockTeams such as the African Wildlife Defence Force (AWDF) are taking action against poaching.
AWDF provide rangers, who act as " frontline troops" in the fight against poaching.
via: ShutterstockOn their website, they state, "Our rangers get a Legionnaire style training to perform covert and difficult missions. They endure more rigorous physical training after basic training. And must stay in top physical condition at all the time. Or they may lose their ranger status."
Work like this is taking effect.
But we need more action to take place.
via: ShutterstockSave the Rhino says that this means, "supporting anti-poaching work, but also good overall management of rhino populations by ensuring high-quality biological management."
Kruger National Park is a 19,485 km2 protected habitat.
via: ShutterstockIt is the most popular place for poachers to visit and has suffered horrible losses over the years. More than half of South Africa's poaching losses occur at the park. This is where the incident that happened last week occurred. Keep scrolling to hear more on that!
The problem at Kruger National Park has been recognized.
via: ShutterstockThe government and international donors have been helping to secure the park, bringing funding and resources to the fight against poaching.
The poaching problem actually began in Zimbabwe.
via: Getty ImagesThe socio-economic and political climate drove people to poach rhinos for their horns, which they could then go on to sell. When rhinos in Zimbabwe were no longer as easy to find and hunt, poachers moved to South Africa to make their money.
Kenya and Namibia have also suffered huge losses as a consequence of poaching.
via: Getty ImagesKenya lost fifty-nine animals in 2013, which accounted for 5% of the national population. Namibia lost eighty rhinos in 2015. In the whole of Africa, the total number of rhinos poached in 2015 was higher than it had been in twenty years!
Want to help?
via: ShutterstockSave the Rhino has a whole range of ways that you can get involved in the fight against poaching! From fundraising to memberships, there are so many ways that we can help to save the rhinos.
On to the story of one poacher that didn't make it back with his prize...
#sapsMP Komatipoort: A human skull found in the Kruger National Park (KNP) is believed to be that of a man reported… https://t.co/pzGTubNXCs— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SA Police Service 🇿🇦)1554566144.0
The skull was thought to have belonged to a poacher.
via: ShutterstockThe SA Police Service said that the skull was "that of a man reportedly killed by an elephant while poaching with his accomplices" on Monday April 1st.
The men illegally entered the park.South African National Parks agency, a group of men entered the Kruger National Park with the intention to poach rhinos. One of the men was killed by an elephant while they were out there.
His remains were left for a passer-by to see.
The family called Don English, Skukuza Regional Ranger at KNP.
via: ShutterstockAnd Don English assured the family that he would do everything in his power to find the remains of the man to help to bring them closure.
He organized a search party.
via: Shutterstock.According to the South African National Parks agency, "Rangers on foot, accompanied by members of the KNP Airwing flew over the area that was described by the family but due to failing light, could not locate the body."
The search started back up again on Thursday morning.
via: Getty ImagesAnd they had more information about the location of the attack provided by the deceased man's accomplices, who were arrested on Wednesday evening (they are currently in custody and will have their day in court sometime soon). The remains of the body were found that day and "indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants."
"Devoured by a pride of lions."
Managing Executive of the KNP, Glenn Phillips, has commented on the incident:
via: Getty Images"Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that. It is very sad to see the daughters of the diseased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains."
How has the internet reacted to the story?
And Corey Feldman was one of those people.
BEST NEWS IVE HEARD ALL YEAR!!! GOOD RIDINS! EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE NATURE GETS SOME JUSTICE: Suspected rhino poache… https://t.co/bt5vfOBXos— Corey Feldman (@Corey Feldman)1554606308.0
This Twitter-user seems to agree with Feldman.
Is it just me or is anyone else laughing their arse off at this? Karma is an absolute bitch isn't it, my kind of bi… https://t.co/Ip99AZMbI4— Karen Griffiths (@Karen Griffiths)1554649891.0
Not everyone agrees that we should.
if you're a first worlder who can't even begin to fathom a life where poaching looks like the best route to feeding… https://t.co/Mf7SRPaec0— Saladin Ahmed (@Saladin Ahmed)1554648683.0
Is this an argument about the value of an animal's life over that of a human?
@saladinahmed Ill take the animals side over impoverished humans 10 times out of 10. This is akin to telling people… https://t.co/dVexvKh8Bm— The Tentacle Coach 👾 (@The Tentacle Coach 👾)1554649331.0
Maybe this is just a tragic story all-round.It's wrong that animals are being poached for their horns, tusks and fur. It's also wrong that people are being driven to do such heinous things as poaching out of a desperate need for money in an impoverished environment.
We think we agree with Natalia Reagan.
@jacobcoffey17 @SarahPrimate @saladinahmed @MattLarsenDaw @MARspidermonkey It’s a tough subject to talk about in 28… https://t.co/heyECLskLn— Natalia "Vaccinate Your Kids" Reagan 🐒 (@Natalia "Vaccinate Your Kids" Reagan 🐒)1554661926.0