Prince William has issued his gravest warning yet that the rhino is dangerously close to extinction, telling ITV News that the world has as little as five years left to save the species.
In a recent interview the Duke of Cambridge condemned the illegal poaching trade that is decimating the rhino in Africa. He said it would be “devastating for humanity” and future generations if the animals continue to be slaughtered and become permanent victims of aggressive poaching gangs.
The Prince, who is the President of United for Wildlife and Patron of the Tusk Trust, called for a ‘dramatic change’ in how rhinos are protected to prevent the species from being lost forever
“If we haven’t achieved something in the next five to 10 years then we will be almost impossible to do anything after that,” he warned.
There are two species of African rhino, white and black, which are predominately found in just four countries, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. There are some 20,000 white rhinos remaining, whilst with numbers as low as 5,000, the black rhino is now critically endangered.
With 79% of Africa’s rhino population, South Africa boasts the largest population of rhinos in the world and a large number of rhinos can be found in country’s Kruger National Park, which, despite valiant efforts lost 826 rhino’s to poaching in 2015 alone.
Recorded number of rhinos poached in South Africa 2007-2015
- 2007 -13
- 2008 -83
- 2009 -122
- 2010 -333
- 2011 – 448
- 2012 – 668
- 2013 -1,004
- 2014 -1,215
- 2015 – 1,175
- Source: Data from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs
Far from diminishing, the poaching is becoming more prevalent, fuelled by demand from the Asian market, where rhino horns are a lucrative commodity, realizing vast sums, due to the ludicrous notion that it has magical medicinal properties. One kilo of rhino horn can fetch as much as £42,000!
With an average of 3 rhinos being slaughtered everyday for their horns can you afford to rest on your laurels and let the history books record the extinction of the rhinoceros?