Wildlife officials in Botswana warn that if poaching is not aggressively reined in, there may be no rhinos left in the country within the next two years. Speaking at an anti-poaching awareness seminar in Francistown, rhino coordinator at the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Mmadi Reuben noted that the country has been losing about one rhino per month on average, a loss that is dangerous for the survival of the species and would significantly hurt Botswana’s tourism sector.
Two rhinos had been poached within a five-day span in the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Southern white rhinos have managed to be pulled back from extinction thanks to concerted efforts by conservationists and international wildlife organizations, but black rhinos are in a much more precarious position, with only 4,200 left in the wild globally.
Botswana is home to fewer than 20 black rhinos, and also holds the continent’s highest elephant population, also an endangered species. Anti-poaching efforts have now made protecting rhinos and rooting out poaching groups a top priority, Reuben said to Xinhua News.