Last year was not a great year for rhinos. An increase in rhino deaths due to poaching has been fueled by the increasing demand for rhino horns in the growing economic classes of many countries in Southeast Asia.
By November of last year, 790 rhinos were estimated to have been killed in South Africa due to poaching, with the latest statistics by WESSA, the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa, from December 19, putting the 2013 rhino death toll at 946! That’s almost 1,000 endangered rhinos killed this year alone for their horns, up from 668 in 2012 — WTF!
If an increase in poaching wasn’t enough bad news for rhinos in 2013, the declaration by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) made the threats to rhinos much clearer. The IUCN declared Africa’s Western Black Rhino to be extinct after there were no signs of black rhino subspecies for years.
There isn’t complete silence on the murder of these endangered animals though. Some organizations and even governments have begun to take action. The U.S. State Department has announced a $1 million reward for information regarding illegal wildlife-trafficking syndicates in Asia, specifically tied to rhino horns, among other trade of endangered animals.
What’s more, Java Films is releasing a new documentary called “Gambling on Extinction” about the economic forces behind the illegal wildlife trade of rhinos, elephants, and tigers, in hopes of illuminating the rising threat.
While it’s necessary that the media and governmental bodies take action on these issues, it’s also crucial that we stay in-the-know about them too so that we can teach others about the threats to rhinos and other wildlife crime victims. So go ahead and check out the inforgraphic below created by The Huffington Post which succinctly sums up what’s driving the illegal trade of endangered rhino horns, then be sure to spread it around!