JOHANNESBURG - The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says it remains concerned about the overall status of rhino populations despite official figures from the department of environmental affairs showing the number of those killed in South Africa dropped to 769 in 2018 from 1,028 in 2017.
"The fact that fewer rhinos have been lost in South Africa in 2018 is good news and merits credit for the hard work and commitment of all those involved," WWF International's African rhino lead Dr Jo Shaw said.
"However, the overall status of our rhino populations remains a concern and we need continued commitment to address the systemic challenges for rhinos across the region."
Poaching losses in the rhino stronghold of the Kruger National Park declined from 504 in 2017 to 421 in 2018, in parallel with ongoing efforts to bring the situation under control.
During the course of the year a total of 229 alleged poachers were arrested inside and adjacent to the sprawling park, 40 more than in 2017. However, the Kruger has also seen a rise in elephant poaching to 71 killings in 2018.