The latest news has shown a 5.6% increase in the population of white rhinos from 15,942 at the end of 2021, to a strong 16,803 at the end of 2022. This is the first time in a decade that the African white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) population has increased.
The black rhino (Diceros bicornis) population has also increased, from 6,195 at the end of 2021 to 6,487 at the end of 2022.
White rhinos are currently listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and Black Rhinos remain Critically Endangered. However, this latest news provides hope and a chance to appreciate and recognise the intense hard work, successful conservation management, and protection of rhinos taking place across Africa.
It is important to highlight that poaching still remains the greatest threat to African rhinos, with varying trends across several African countries, and this latest news doesn’t remove the fact that poaching numbers are increasing in certain parts of Africa. As Dr Michael Knight, Chair of the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG) states “With this good news, we can take a sigh of relief for the first time in a decade. However, it is imperative to further consolidate and build upon this positive development and not drop our guard,”.
Habitat loss is the second biggest threat to rhinos, with climate change becoming an increasing threat. Drought, competition over water, and increases in wildfires due to dry landscapes can all have devasting effects on human and rhino habitats, and can force communities into closer contact with rhinos, or even push those living in poverty to poach as a source of income.
Tusk is proud to support numerous projects across Africa that focus on protecting rhinos and their habitats. These projects also support communities living alongside wildlife, engaging them in conservation education and highlighting the wildlife ranger profession. Meanwhile the Wildlife Ranger Challenge has enabled rangers from across Africa to come together and raise awareness and funds for their protected areas, as well as highlighting the difficult and sometimes fatal role of protecting Africa’s fauna and flora.
We celebrated World Rhino Day last week by highlighting the 2021 Prince William Award winner for Conservation in Africa, Simson Uri-Khob from Save The Rhino Trust Namibia. Click here to watch our Instagram reel.
Here are just a few of our Tusk supported projects that are safeguarding white rhinos:
You can see the full list of Tusk supported projects here.