1,000+ Rhinos Poached in South Africa in 2013, Worst Year on Record
The world’s largest surviving population of white rhinos suffered its heaviest toll on record last year when poachers killed more than 1,000 of the threatened animals to feed an international market for trinkets and potions made from their horns.
The South African Department of Environmental Affairs reported Friday that it had counted 1,004 rhinos killed by poachers in 2013, mostly in Kruger National Park, along the porous border with Mozambique.
It was the worst year for rhinoceros poaching since the government began tracking the illegal hunting in the early 1900s, National Geographic reported.
South Africa is home to more than 20,000 white rhinos, about 80% of the world’s population of the iconic beasts that numbered 500,000 a century ago, conservation organizations report.