South Africa saw a 33% drop in rhino poaching in 2020 compared with the previous year, marking the sixth year that poaching has declined.
“While the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the battle to beat the COVID-19 pandemic contributed in part to the decrease in rhino poaching in 2020, the role of rangers and security personnel who remained at their posts, and the additional steps taken by government to effectively deal with these and related offenses, also played a significant role,” said Barbara Creecy, the country’s environment, forestry and fisheries minister.
A total of 156 people were arrested for rhino poaching or horn trafficking across the country, and authorities engaged in more than 25 major investigations. The continued improvement comes after the government implemented new wildlife protection strategies, including public awareness campaigns and regional information sharing.
Experts say remaining vigilant as lockdowns ease will be critical to maintaining the downward trend.