Rhinos could disappear in Botswana by 2022 if the current serious levels of poaching are maintained, a problem that has been on the rise for a year, conservation organizations confirmed today to Efe.
Today, the current population of rhinos in this southern African country is only slightly above 400 and most live in the area of the Okavango Delta (north).
It is a very large area and rich in wildlife where poaching has been "professionalized," according to Efe Map Ives, director of the NGO Rhino Conservation Botswana.
Thus, since September of last year – months in which Ives places the beginning of the current boom of rhino poaching – up to 17 animals lost their lives in the country, more than one per month.
If these figures are maintained, according to this conservation organization, by 2022 or 2023 the botsuan rhinos could practically disappear.
The Government of the country itself has also launched an alert message since, according to data revealed Wednesday by the Ministry of Environment, since last April, 9 animals died at the hands of the poachers.
Especially worrying was the period between the end of last September and the beginning of this month, when two rhinos died in just one week.
These numbers are "unacceptable," according to the director of the Department of Wild Fauna of the Ministry, Mmadi Reuben, who said they could lead to the extinction of rhinos even as early as 2021.
The disappearance of the species would be for Botswana an "immense loss" – according to that government institution in a statement -, despite the "strict" policies and the "vast" funds dedicated in the country to combat the poaching of rhinos.
"We need more sophistication, more equipment. We have the human resources but we need more equipment to help in the battle … The intentions of the Government of Botswana are good and the defense forces do their best, but we need more." , detailed the director of Rhino Conservation Botswana.
"It is a very large and very difficult area (to control), it is a wetland with dense forests … We need aerial surveillance because the terrain is very complicated so we are looking for donations for it," Ives added, before launching a call to the "private sector" to collaborate.
Despite the delicate situation, Rhino Conservation Botswana believes that the situation can still be reversed for this species in this African country, which has an important tourism sector dependent on wildlife.
Botswana is, for example, famous for being the country in the world with the largest population of elephants.
As for the threatened rhinos, the vast majority of the specimens that still exist in the world are in neighboring South Africa, a nation where poaching has also been on the rise for a decade.
The hunters look for the horns of the rhinos, which are sold mostly in Asian markets, where they are attributed healing and aphrodisiac properties.
In the black market, the horn reaches values between 60,000 and 80,000 dollars per kilo.
. (tagsToTranslate) rhinos (t) risk (t) become extinct (t) Botswana (t) years