In the first half of this year, nearly half fewer rhinos were poached in South Africa compared to the same period last year. Still, 166 rhinos were still killed illegally.
Last year, 316 rhinos were killed in the first six months, reports Barbara Creecy, the South African environment minister.
According to Creecy, the decrease is due to the measures to contain the corona virus in South Africa. For example, nature parks were (largely) closed and international air traffic was partly halted.
Now that the corona measures are slowly being relaxed again, the minister warns of a possible increase in poaching.
Ask from Asian countries
Most demand for the rhinoceros comes from China and Vietnam. The rhinoceros horn is used there as a medicine or status symbol and in most cases is sold as a powder.
Vietnam decided last week to curtail the wildlife trade immediately in connection with the coronavirus.
South Africa has about eighteen thousand white rhinoceroses, more than 85 percent of the global population. The country has been trying to tackle rhino poaching for years.
So far this year, 23 people have been prosecuted for poaching the animals. Killing rhinos carries long prison terms in South Africa.