African black rhino numbers on the rise

This article originally featured in The Skylark’s newsletter and was written as a condensed news in brief.

The number of African black rhinos in the wild have experienced a rare boost, increasing by several hundred in recent years.

The rise is small, only 2.5% in six years, and the species is still critically endangered with only 5,630 estimated, but there is hope that conservation efforts are working. These have included moving individual rhinos to new locations, increasing the species range and ensuring healthy breeding populations, alongside tougher enforcement of anti-poaching laws and capabilities.

Poaching levels appear to have declined again in the last few years, down from a peak in 2015 when an average of 3.7 rhinos were killed every day. Estimates for 2019 suggest poaching has declined further, owing to governments taking stronger measures against the organised crime gangs behind poaching. But there remains a lot of work left to be done for many African species.

Although white rhino numbers grew between 2007 and 2012, the numbers of the southern white rhino subspecies fell by 15% during that period, from an estimated 21,300 to 18,000, cancelling out previous growth.

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