Rhino Poaching

News, information and statistics about the poaching and rhinos in Africa. Data about rhino poaching and rhino horn sales are collected from wildlife charities, security intelligence agencies and other public information sources.

See all facts and information about the Illegal Wildlife Trade.

Statistics released by the United Nation’s’ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) showed that 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2014.

The number of rhinos killed for their rhino horn was a record high.

1,004 rhinos were poached and killed in South Africa in 2013.

668 were killed in 2012.

341 were killed in 2011.

333 were killed in 2010.

122 were killed in 2009.

The rise in poaching of rhinos is due to the high price of rhino horn on the black market. A kilogram of rhino horn is sold for up to $65,000.

(Additional prices of exotic animals and endangered species.)

Source:  Live Science, “Amid Record-Breaking Poaching, Wildlife Experts Seek to Smash a Black Market,” Yahoo News, March 5, 2015.


According to criminal justice programs and wildlife charities, a kilogram of ivory poached from elephants is available for sale in Asia at prices of $850 (€650). In 2011, over $31 Million worth of ivory tusks was smuggled from Eastern Africa to Asia, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

A large portion of the poaching of elephants and rhinos take place in Kenya. Security services in the region state that organized groups of poachers use night vision goggle, automatic weapons and chainsaws to kill rhinos and elephants and to quickly remove the horns and tusks.

Intelligence by wildlife charities and advocates state that the poaching in Kenya is done by a core group of 20 to 30 people.

(More statistics on elephant poaching.)

(More statistics on rhino poaching.)

Source:  AFP, “Counting the cost of East Africa’s poaching economy,” Google News, March 24,2014.

According to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, a total of 1,004 rhinos were killed by poachers in 2013. The rate of poaching has continued to increase each year.

668 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2012.

341 rhinos were killed in 2011.

333 rhinos were killed in 2010.

122 rhinos were killed in 2009.

Wildlife protection officials state that the rhinos are killed by poachers for their horns.

(Prices on exotic animals for sale.)

Source:  Christine Dell’Amore, “1,000+ Rhinos Poached in 2013: Highest in Modern History,” National Geographic, January 17, 2014.


Between April 2012 to April 2013, security services in the United Kingdom conducted over 675 seizures of wildlife items that were being trafficked into the country.

The following is a small sample of the contraband items that were seized:

  • 326 items made with ivory.
  • Rhino horn that was worth $1.6 Million (£1 Million).
  • 466 Hermann’s tortoises
  • 750 kilograms of coral form Vietnam
  • Monkey Skulls
  • A Rolls Royce upholstered with alligator skin.
  • 126,000 pots of a weight-loss pill and 15,120 pots of a sports supplement for using rare orchids as ingredients.

(More prices of animals sold on the black market.)

Source: Victoria Turk, “Bear Bile, Seahorses, and Tortoise Jelly: The UK Had a Record Year for Wildlife Busts,” Motherboard, November 16, 2013.

Officials with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service state that a pound of rhino horns sells for over $5,000 pounds in the United States. From the US, the horn is smuggled into China and Vietnam where it is used for various purposes such as hang-over cures.

In Vietnam, crushed rhino horn was being sold for $10 per shot. The Associated Press reported that the rhino horn was more costly than cocaine in Vietnam.

(More illegal wildlife trade prices here.)

Source:  Michael Wilson, “Rhino Horns: a) Increase Potency; b) Cure Cancer; or c) Bring a Prison Term,” New York Times, November 8, 2013.

In the first eight months of 2013, a reported 190 elephants, 35 rhinos, and 2 forest rangers were killed in Kenya.

In 2012, a total of 29 rhinos were killed in the country.

Between 2009 and 2012, nearly 1,000 elephants have been killed in Kenya by poachers. The total elephant population in the country is between 35,000 to 40,000.

(Price of rhino horns and ivory on the black market.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Poachers kill rhino in Nairobi Nat’l Park, highlighting risk to Kenya’s wildlife,” Washington Post, August 13, 2013.

According to criminal justice officers in South Africa, 515 rhinos were killed by poachers between January 1, 2013 to July 23, 2013.

The rhinos were killed for their horns which are sold on the black market in Asia.

(Prices of rhino horns and ivory on the illegal wildlife trade.)

668 rhinos were killed  in all of 2012.

Source:  AFP, “Over 500 rhinos poached in South Africa this year,” France 24, July 24, 2013.

Wildlife protection organizations and the South African Government reported that 82 rhinos were killed by poachers in January 2013. In Kruger National Park in South Africa, 61 rhinos were killed. 14 poachers were arrested as well.

In 2012, a record 668 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa.

Source:  Adam Vaughn, “WWF plans to use drones to protect wildlife,” Guardian, February 7, 2013.

In the first six months of 2012, wildlife protection authorities have arrested 43 Asian nationals for rhino horn trafficking in South Africa. 24 were from Vietnam.

Despite having a large black market in rhino horns, there have been zero seizures of rhino horns in the country since 2008.

In 2011, at least 443 rhinos were killed in South Africa.

Source:  Adam Vaughan, “Affluent Vietnamese driving rhino horn poaching in South Africa, report warns,” Guardian, July 23, 2012.


In April 2012, international wildlife monitoring group TRAFFIC found 3,389 online advertisements for wildlife products such as tiger bone, elephant ivory, rhino horns and hawksbill turtle products. The various wildlife products were being offered through 15 different e-commerce sites and auction websites written in Chinese.

In the same month, authorities in China responsible for stopping the illegal wildlife trade investigated 700 cases, closed 628 online shops selling wildlife products, and deleted 1,607 pieces of information regarding the black market trade of animals from the Internet.

The illegal trafficking of wildlife in China is estimated to be worth $10 Billion.

Source:  “Chinese e-commerce companies crack down on illegal wildlife trade,” WWF, June 8, 2012.