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  • Jamie Thom

A Glimmer of Hope for Rhinos

Conservationists announced a positive development for rhino populations in Africa, marking the first glimmer of good news in a decade for these animals under threat from poaching. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported that the rhino population on the continent reached nearly 23,300 at the end of the previous year, reflecting a 5.2% increase from 2021.


Chair of the IUCN's African Rhino Specialist Group, Michael Knight, expressed relief, stating, "With this good news, we can take a sigh of relief for the first time in a decade." The IUCN compiled rhino estimates from various nations to arrive at the continental total. They attributed the population growth to a combination of protective measures and biological management initiatives.


The black rhino population increased by 4.2% to 6,487, while white rhinos saw a 5.6% rise to 16,803—marking the first increase since 2012, according to the IUCN. Knight emphasized the importance of building upon this positive trend and maintaining vigilance to ensure continued growth.


Despite the encouraging numbers, the threat to rhinos persists, with over 550 falling victim to poaching in 2022, primarily in South Africa, which hosts nearly 80% of the world's rhino population. Poachers have increasingly targeted privately-owned reserves in search of rhino horns, highly valued in black markets where their price per weight rivals that of gold and cocaine, estimated at around $60,000 per kilogram.




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