This week, the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) confirmed that 24 rhino carcasses were discovered after being killed by poachers in the last two weeks.
According to a statement by the department, the deceased rhinos were reported in four separate areas. Six were found in KwaZulu Natal,four were discovered in the Western Cape, included a pregnant female,seven were found in Mpumalanga, and an additional seven in Kruger National Park.
“The department condemns the continued poaching of these iconic species for their horns and commends the work being done by rangers and security officials over the festive period to stem the killing of rhino. In the first 14 days of December, nine alleged poachers have been arrested,” said spokesperson Albi Modise, in the statement.“The Department will provide an update on the total number of rhinos killed for their horns in 2021, early in 2022.”
Searl Derman, owner of Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve, where four of the rhinos were killed, said that he is “horrified to relive this nightmare! As with our previous poaching incident at Aquila Private Game Reserve in 2011, we will again commit to sparing no expense or effort in the pursuit to catch and bring justice to these vicious perpetrators who massacred our rhino.”
According to a post on Saving The Survivors (STS) Facebook page, their team in South Africa was called to assist with an adult Southern white rhino bull that had been shot, with the front horn hacked off, left to die like the other rhinos. Miraculously, the bull somehow managed to survive the ordeal.
Dr. Johan with STS is leading a veterinary team treating the severely injured rhino who escaped the bloodbath. Thankfully, the surviving rhino is doing better and eating well.
Another rhino was reportedly shot and survived the massacre at Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve. According to local wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Louis Greeff, the injured rhino, who escaped with her horns intact, is strong and doing well.
“We are happy to report that Dr. Johan’s expertise is not required and we can leave that case to the reserve and Dr. Greeff, who are doing a wonderful job at such a traumatic time,” said a post on Saving The Survivors’ Facebook. “This frees Dr. Johan and our team to concentrate on the other survivor we reported on.”
According to Save The Rhino, in 2020, 394 rhinos were poached in South Africa, an average of more than one rhino per day. However, annual averages often mask seasonal variations. If all 24 rhinos lost in December were in fact poached, this would give an average daily loss rate of nearly 1.75 rhinos per day, which is a significant increase to the 2020 average.
These recent rhino killings are a reminder of how critical it is that we do everything in our power to save this magnificent species before it’s too late.
Members of the public are encouraged to assist with any information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of poachers by calling 10111 or the environmental crime hotline at 0800 205 005.
Saving The Survivors is currently treating a number of rhino poaching survivors, as well as delivering proactive anti-poaching initiatives like dehorning and tracking. Please help them continue their efforts by donating HERE!
For updates on Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve or to donate to their initiative, CLICK HERE!
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg