Since the start of the 20th century, rhino numbers have gone from 500,000 to only 29,000 living today in the wild. 5 species are left: 4 species remaining are threatened and 3 are critically endangered.
Why? In South Africa alone, poachers kill 3 or more rhinos per day to feed the demand for horn on the black market. There was a 9,000% increase in rhino killing from 2007 to 2014. Last year poachers killed nearly 1,200 rhinos in South Africa alone. Growing demand for rhino horn, especially in Asian countries, is what is driving record poaching rates.
Poaching is not the sole problem though. Habitat fragmentation is a big factor as well. Human development has chopped up landscapes where rhinos live, leading to small, isolated populations that cannot get together to breed. Dividing a habitat prevents rhinos from breeding, keeping their numbers threatened.
In response to the global crisis in rhino conservation, the International Rhino Foundation protects particularly threatened rhino populations in the wild, while also supporting applied research that can help to improve the chances for long-term survival of all rhino species. They have already made great strides in preventing further declines of these magnificent animals and turning rhino population trends around in the areas in which we work. At the heart of IRF’s vision is the belief that rhino species should endure future generations, and that protecting them ensures that many other species that share their habitat also service, including humans.
IRF puts its limited resources towards field programs in Asia and Africa targeting the rhino species most in need of and most appropriate for intensive protection and management. To learn more about International Rhino Foundation visit rhinos.org