South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has finally released the rhino poaching numbers for 2016. According to the DEA, a total of (at least) 1054 rhino were poached in South Africa in 2016 (2015: 1175). Out of the 1054 rhinos poached, 662 rhinos (2015: 826) got illegally killed by poachers in Kruger National Park.
For 2016 there were a staggering 2883 instances of poaching-related activities (such as poaching camps, contacts, crossings, sightings, tracks and shots fired) in Kruger National Park, compared to 2466 recorded in the same period in 2015. This is an increase of 16.9%.
46 elephants were poached in the Kruger National Park in 2016.
During 2016, the South African Police Service (SAPS) reported that a total of 680 poachers and traffickers were arrested for rhino-related poaching offences nationally. This is a marked increase in arrests from 317 in 2015. From the total number of arrests made, 417 were both within and outside the Kruger National Park. A total of 148 firearms were seized inside the park in 2016, and six just outside the Park.
During September 2016, a rhino survey using the scientifically accepted block count method recorded that a total of 6 649 - 7 830 white rhino lived in Kruger National Park. This is lower than the 8 365 - 9 337 that lived in Kruger National Park during 2015. It must be noted that the natural deaths of white rhino increased due to the unprecedented drought conditions.
A total of 349 – 465 black rhino lived in Kruger National Park in 2016 compared to 313 – 453 in 2015. The drought effect was not as noticeable on the black rhinos.