Experts Warn That Rhinos Could Be Extinct In As Little As 15 Years

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Experts warn that rhinos could be extinct in as little as 15 years due to a renewed problem with illegal poaching.

Figures from South Africa, which is home to around 80 percent of the rhino population, state there are around 28,000 rhinos left in the wild, however, figures also show that last year 1,028 rhinos were killed - almost three a day.

Rosie Hancock Pook, from Tusk, a charity which runs and funds conservation projects across Africa, told LADbible: "If things carry on at this rate, they will be extinct in 15 years.

A one-horned rhinoceros which was killed and de-horned by poachers in the Burapahar range of Kaziranga. Credit: PA
A one-horned rhinoceros which was killed and de-horned by poachers in the Burapahar range of Kaziranga. Credit: PA

"Illegal wildlife trafficking is the fourth largest illegal trade in the world - behind drugs, people trafficking and counterfeiting. So, it's a huge problem."

The shocking stats also show that between 2007 and 2014 poaching grew by 9,000 percent in South Africa, where the animals are killed for their horns. These can be worth £2,300 ($3,000) per pound on the South African black market, although they can reach a value of five to ten times that price when imported illegally to countries across Asia, where they are often used in 'traditional' medicines.

As well as poaching, rhinos are also facing loss of habitat and conflict with humans.

So, we know the problem, but how about a solution? Well, there are things that can be done; charities and non-governmental organisations, such as Tusk and Save the Rhino are working hard on the ground on a number of projects to help protect rhinos and these are having real-life impact.

One such project by Tusk gives rangers the skills it takes to track poachers.

"Our sub-Sarahan African counter poaching training programme has trained 140 rangers across seven countries," Rosie tells me.

"We provide training which covers interception tracking skills, information gathering and analysis, and the development of an information network.

"We also provide finical support to ensure the rangers get a decent salary. It's fundamental that rangers are kept safe and well."

If rangers are well trained and well looked after, they're in a better position to spot poachers and intercept them.

Credit: Tusk
Credit: Tusk

Over here in the UK they raise awareness of the plight of rhinos through events such as the Tusk Rhino Trail, which sees 21 specially designed rhinos placed on the streets of London before they're auctioned off at Christies on 9 October (National Rhino Day) with all proceeds going towards vital work.

And you can help by donating, volunteering or by just being as bloody loud as you can about this so governments can't sweep the problem under the rug. Seriously, share this article, share the horrible statistics that mean we could be in a rhino-less world in the not too distant future - and share the good work done by charities such as Tusk.

Extinct: A race against time to save our endangered species. Read more from our campaign here

Featured Image Credit: PA

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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