At least 279 of the animals have been slaughtered for their horns so far this year, meaning that last year’s record kill of 333 may be surpassed if urgent action isn’t taken.
Rhino horns fetch huge sums of money on the Asian black market, and are used in the belief that their powder can act as a powerful aphrodisiac, or cure serious diseases such as cancer.
South Africa is home to 93 percent of the continent’s rhino population, including about 19,400 white rhinos and 1,678 of the critically endangered black rhinos.
Poachers can earn as much as $125,000 per pound on the black market for rhino horn.
Photo: Mauricedale Game Ranch (S. Africa)