South Africa’s endangered rhinos are among the world’s only beneficiaries of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Poaching rates have plunged by 53% so far this year, according to new data from Barbara Creecy, the minister of environment, forestry, and fisheries. The minister explained that lockdowns and disruptions to the illicit trade brought on by the outbreak have all helped give the rhino a reprieve from being illegally hunted.
But there are indications this reprieve may not last for very long. The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency recently discovered ads on the Chinese super-app WeChat hawking rhino horn as a cure for COVID-19, prompting renewed concerns that demand for rhino horn in China and Vietnam will soon resume.
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