The number of rhinos killed for their horns in South Africa has dropped for a fifth consecutive year, according to recent data released by the Ministry of Environmental Affairs.

A total of 594 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2019, a 22% drop from 769 in 2018.

Minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Creecy, said the decline was due to several strategies implemented by the government, with the addition of technology to inform law enforcement authorities about poaching activities. 

“A decline in poaching for five consecutive years is a reflection of the diligent work of the men and women who put their lives on the line daily to combat rhino poaching, often coming into direct contact with ruthless poachers,” Creecy said.

Thirty-one elephants were killed in 2019, a 56% decrease. Creecy said improved capabilities to react to poaching incidents had helped decrease the number of poaching incidents.

“At a national level, 332 arrests were effected in respect of both rhino poaching and rhino horn trafficking. A total of 85 firearms were recovered during the year.”