WASHINGTON, D.C. - The poaching of rhinos in South Africa has increased by more than three rhinos a week on average since Environmental Minister Edna Molewa called for a legal international trade in rhino horn, according to analysis by the non-profit Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
From January 1 to March 13 2013, an average of 15.36 rhinos were poached each week in South Africa. On March 14, Minister Molewa revealed her support at the meeting of the member nations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok, Thailand, for a legal international rhino horn trade. CITES has long banned such a trade.
Since the Minister’s announcement, a weekly average of 18.6 rhinos were poached between March 14 and September 19, totaling 505 rhinos. Today the 2013 total has now reached a grim new world record of 663 animals, just five short of South Africa’s 2012 record total of 668 poached rhinos. Kenya and India have also reported increased numbers of their rhinos poached this year.