South Africa’s Poached Rhino Count Tops 600 for 2013

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The year isn’t even over yet, and a record for rhino deaths in South Africa has sadly already been set.

The year isn’t over yet, and already a record for rhino deaths in South Africa has sadly been set.

Current documentation places the number at around 690, already eclipsing last year’s total of 668.

In 2007, only 13 were reported.

The majority of the killings took place at South Africa’s Kruger National Park where 425 rhinos have been slaughtered since January.

Exterminations among the animals are expected to outnumber births, putting the population into a state of decline, says WWF’s rhino coordinator.

The escalating death toll is the result of increased poaching to meet the rising demand for the animal’s horns.

Throughout Asia, and especially in Vietnam, the horns are seen as a symbol of social status.

Earlier this year a survey of 720 inhabitants of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City was published.

The report’s authors revealed that for the most part rhino horn customers are "educated, successful and powerful individuals." A common use of the horns is to gain favor in networking situations.

One of South Africa’s anti-poaching plans is to transition the matter from being a conservation concern to one of national security.