An expert is warning that rhino populations in Africa are rapidly declining, with some experts predicting the species could be extinct by 2040.
The report, published by the Global Rhino Tracker Project (GRTP), warns that rhinos in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia have all lost 20% of their populations in the last 10 years.GRTP’s director, David Loomis, said the figures were alarming and showed the need for urgent action.
“The numbers are going down, and there are fewer of them, and the poaching levels are going up,” he told Al Jazeera.
“So the numbers need to be addressed urgently.”
Mr Loomus told AlJazeera that poaching was a global problem and the number of rhinos poached in the world could be as high as 50 million.
“There is a lot of confusion and there is no common denominator for the numbers, because there is so much going on, so many different countries.”
If you want to get to the bottom of the poaching problem, you have to look at a whole lot of different variables,” he said.
In South Africa the numbers are on the decline, with the population dropping from 7,300 to 7,000 in a single year.
The country’s Department of Environment and Conservation (Defec) estimates that more than 4,500 rhinos have been killed in the past decade.
The Government has already begun a plan to address the problem.”
In our country, we have been working with the federal government to work towards an end to poaching,” Environment Minister Michael van Goolen told the ABC.
Mr Lomis told Aljazeera that South Africa was not alone in its struggles to stop the poaching of the endangered species.”
It’s not just in South America, it’s in Asia.
There’s not a country that’s not trying to deal with the problem,” he explained.”
I think that’s a global issue, and we’ve got to be in the forefront of the game.
“We are a great example of a country in Africa that has done a very good job in terms of the amount of work that has been done.”
The global Rhino Tracker project is a collaboration between WWF and WWF South Africa.GRRP’s findings come at a time when there are renewed calls for more international attention to the poaching crisis.
The UN-backed Global Rhino Strategy has called for the total number of animals poached globally to be reduced to 50 million by the end of the decade.
In a statement on Monday, WWF South African said: “It is now time for the world to act to halt the extinction of rhino in South African national parks.”
The latest numbers released on Monday show that the total population of the rhino has dropped from 7 in 2007 to 7 in 2015.
However, the report states that poaching levels have remained high despite the decline in the population.
“Rabies is the single largest source of wildlife loss globally, accounting for roughly 30% of all wildlife losses, with global population losses from rhino and elephant poachers currently surpassing 2.8 billion animals,” the report said.
“Since 2006, poaching has declined at a rate of 2.2% per year, compared to a 3.9% decline in poaching rates for all other species.”
The number of elephants killed in South Korea is now on track to reach 1.4 million by 2036, and 1.3 million by 2030, the WWF report said, while rhino numbers are expected to increase.