Number of rhinoceros killed by poachers on the rise in Botswana

Rhinos standing on a field against sky during sunset, Okavango Delta, Botswana. /Getty Images

Nearly 100 rhinoceros were killed by poachers for their horns in Botswana over the past three years, a wildlife official said in a statement Saturday.

Kabelo Senyatso, the director at the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, said Botswana lost five, 30 and 62 rhinoceros in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Senyatso, however, insisted that the southern African country’s rhinoceros population will never reach extinction levels due to poaching, as Botswana will always have certain interventions unique to rhinoceros species to protect them from poachers.

“Following the surge in rhino poaching within the Okavango Delta, a number of initiatives were implemented to address the problem,” said Senyatso, adding that the initiatives included an increase in foot and aerial patrols, dehorning of rhinos and removal of the critically endangered black rhinoceros to fenced areas.

Botswana is committed to deploying resources toward anti-poaching activities, as a means of ensuring that its rich wildlife resources is not decimated by those with selfish ambitions by maintaining anti-poaching efforts in the northern part of Botswana, Senyatso said.

A 2021 International Rhino Foundation status report released last month indicated that the rhinoceros population faces a significant poaching threat in Botswana while noting that Botswana is taking necessary steps to address the issue by taking a number of initiatives.