After years of silence about Kruger National Park rhino populations from South Africa’s Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, we can now confirm that populations in the Kruger National Park have plummeted to an estimated 3,529 white rhinos and 268 black rhinos.
This represents a population reduction of 67% for white rhinos – from 10,621 in 2011 and 35% for black rhinos – from 415 in 2013.
Note that the Minister’s regular rhino poaching updates over the last years focussed on volumes of rhinos poached and other related statistics such as arrests and park incursions – but did not include population details. Recent updates claimed progress in the war against poaching on the grounds that the volume of rhinos being poached per year has reduced recently. This population update suggests that the population reduction is a significant factor contributing towards lower poaching volumes, although refined tactics and back-breaking work by a dedicated and passionate SANParks’ team and various service providers are arguably also contributory factors.
1. These latest stats (2019) are available on page 96 of the 2019/2020 SANParks Annual Report: download.
2. 2018 stats are available on page 101 of the 2018/2019 SANParks Annual Report: download.