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Rhino Poaching in South Africa in 2021

A total of 451 rhino were poached in South Africa in 2021, 327 within government reserves and 124 on private property.

While there is a 24 percent decrease in rhino poaching compared to the pre-Covid period in 2019, there has been an increase in poaching on private properties.

In 2021, 209 rhino were poached for their horns in South African National Parks – all in the Kruger National Park. This was in fact a decrease in comparison to 2020 when 247 rhino were poached within the national parks.

It is important to note that none of SANParks’ smaller rhino parks experienced any rhino losses from poaching in 2021, in comparison to the 2 rhino that were poached in 2020.

The steady decline in rhino poaching in Kruger Park is related to an increase in the intensity of anti-poaching activities in the Kruger National Park. A close working relationship between the police’s endangered species unit, the SANParks environmental crimes inspectorate has resulted in increased arrests and convictions.

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One of the unintended consequences is that poaching syndicates are looking to other areas for easy prey and this has resulted in their targeting private reserves in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Over the last year conservation and anti-poaching efforts have intensified countrywide as a joint effort is made by state-owned conservation areas, government and private landowners to reduce the poaching of rhino in South Africa.

More targeted deployment of resources is being assisted by the roll out of a CSIR-developed situational awareness platform known as CMORE into the integrated wildlife zones.

Through this single technology platform all role players are able to collaborate, making use of real-time insights and analytical capability, linking, for example, camera traps and ranger patrols while integrating a range of other systems

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