Rhino poaching down slightly in 2015, but outlook still dire: activists
Rhinos walk in the Hluhluwe game reserve South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. (AP / Schalk van Zuydam)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, January 2, 2016 7:26AM EST
JOHANNESBURG - A conservation group says the number of rhinos poached in South Africa in 2015 was slightly lower than in the previous year, a statistic that, if confirmed, would be the first annual drop in numbers since rhino poaching surged around 2008.
Citing unidentified sources, Elise Daffue, founder of StopRhinoPoaching.com, says there were about 1,160 reported cases of rhino poaching last year, down from 1,215 in 2014. She says the drop reflects law enforcement efforts to stop poaching in South Africa, home to most of the world's rhinos.
Another South African conservationist, Allison Thomson, said Saturday that the figure of 1,160 killed rhinos seems low and does not include rhino carcasses yet to be found.
The South African government says it will release 2015 statistics on rhino poaching early this year.