Over a thousand rhinos were murdered last year for their horns. That number is increasing at an alarming rate from the 13 who killed in 2007. Illegal poaching in South Africa’s Kruger National Park recently reached such high levels to the point where hiring more guards isn’t enough.
The only solution: evacuating the animals to safer zones. The plan is to relocate 500 of the rhinos to areas where poaching is less of a concern.
Over 600 rhinos were already murdered this year.
Poaching was made illegal in 1977, but the demand kept it thriving over the years.
Asian countries who use the horn in their traditional medicine and as symbols of wealth are especially guilty of encouraging the terrible act.
The rhinos will be taken to other areas of South Africa and possibly other countries.
Transporting the hefty animals is no easy task, with each animal weighing over a tonne.
Environment Minister Edna Molewa explained that they will also create “rhino strongholds” in their efforts to protect them.
Their hope is to maintain their ability to remain and grow in population while remaining in South Africa.
The region is home to 80% of the country’s entire population of rhinos.
This is why they are so aggressively targeted here.
The conservation project is supported by South African government’s Security Cluster, who will also enforce harsher punishment for those caught poaching.
The cost of moving each of these massive animals could be up to $2,000.
But the money is well spent to keep their population from plummeting.
You can find more information on the crisis facing South African rhinos and ways you can help their continued survival on Save the Rhino. I hope they all survive and find a better place to call home.