According to the government of the South African country, rhinos in Botswana continue to be targeted by poachers. The number of rhinos illegally killed for their horns rose sharply from 2018 to 2020, Botswana's Tourism Minister Philda Kereng told the country's parliament on Monday.
However, the number has dropped significantly in the past two years thanks to increased security measures, such as relocating the animals to secret safe locations.
138 rhinos were killed by poachers between 2018 and 2022, 62 of them in the peak year of 2020 alone. According to the wildlife agency, only 23 black rhinos lived in Botswana last year, while there were almost 60 in 2018. The country also has 285 white rhinos.
That's why rhinos are killed
International trade in rhino horns is prohibited. But in Asia, especially in Vietnam and China, horn is popular as an ingredient in traditional medicine and brings high returns.
The minister blamed increased international demand for the horn of the critically endangered animals. In addition, criminal syndicates from other South African countries evaded and thus increased the pressure on the rhinos in Botswana. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last year, poaching of African rhinos and the sale of their horns has declined overall in recent years. According to this, almost 6,200 black rhinos and 16,000 white rhinos still live in Africa.