There have been 227 rhinos poached already in 2013. Of those, 146 have been in Kruger National Park.
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserve in Africa. Located in eastern South Africa, it is home to all of the Big 5 game (rhinos, elephants, lions, buffalo, and leopard).
To combat poaching the Park
*employs 650 anti-poaching unit rangers
*has borrowed 2 drones
*utilizes 2 helicopters
*has automated movement sensors along Mozambique
*has a specialized canine unit
Yet with 9 main gates in a 7580 sq mi area, which is an area slightly smaller than New Jersey, poaching is rampant. They are losing more rhino than any other location in Africa; an average of 2 a day in the Park.
The Park is surrounded by countries in which poverty and unemployment are both endemic. Mozambique is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries with 59% of the people living below the poverty line; while Zimbabwe, suffering from a shrinking economy and hyper inflation, has the world’s largest unemployment rate at 95%, and 80% living below poverty. Limpopo is fairing only slightly better, but is still one of the poorest areas in South Africa, especially in rural areas.
So is it any wonder the rhino are being stalked like a starving lion after a gazelle? With one horn worth a few hundred (just a fraction of the market value) to the poacher, he can feed his family and then some. That one rhino life is worth less than its horn to them.
Over the last 5 years, authorities have killed 279 Mozambicans involved in illegal rhino hunting. 300 more were detained for poaching during that time. For the Mozambique government its a monstrous problem, especially because of the involvement of members of its own defense and security forces.
Tragically for the rhino, where it lives is why it’s being killed. Economics. Poor men committing the murder out of necessity to fuel the greed of the middle man (criminal syndicate) to supply the ignorant (Asian market); the perfect storm that will spell the extinction of the species if we cannot stop it.