South Africa: Numbers of poached rhinos soar

South Africa: Numbers of poached rhinos soar
Thursday, 22 January, 2015
Cape Town, South Africa

The South African Government released shocking figures today showing the country lost a record 1,215 rhinos last year, approximately a 21% increase on 2013.

“These numbers are a wake-up call for the world. We cannot lose the fight to protect rhinos in the wild where they belong. We can and must do better,” said Jason Bell, Director IFAW Southern Africa.

The illicit trade in rhino horn, driven by demand from China and Vietnam for investment purposes and ill-conceived notions of healing benefits has seen prices skyrocket, leading to increased poaching.

While South Africa plans to try to save rhinos by relocating them to supposed rhino-safe ‘strongholds’, Bell argues that all governments must increase investment in smashing every link of the rhino horn trade links.

“The whole world has acknowledged the crisis is rhino and elephant poaching. We must redouble our efforts to support anti-poaching patrols, vastly increase penalties for those caught poaching, increase vigilance on the borders to prevent trafficking and educate, educate, educate in demand countries: we must eradicate this deadly trade.”

“So far this year South Africa has seen 49 rhinos lose their lives to poachers—it is horrific to think what the totals for 2015 might be,” said Bell.

IFAW has trained anti-poaching patrols, provides prevention of wildlife trafficking training, protects vital habitat for rhinos and elephants and is a leader in demand reduction campaigns in China. For more information visit

To read IFAW report on the economics of rhino horn trade, The Horn of Contention, visit:

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at

Post a comment

Press Contact

Christina Pretorius (IFAW Southern Africa)
Contact phone:
+27 21 701 8642
Contact email:


Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Pauline Verheij, Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Country Representative, Germany
Country Representative, Germany
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy