With rhino poaching on the rise, South Africans wonder if the penalty for poaching is high enough. But the latest 20 year sentencing of Mozambican man shows otherwise.

Thirty-year-old Mapoyisa Mahlauli was found guilty of various crimes related to rhino poaching and will be serving twenty years in jail. Mahlauhi was arrested after he was found with rhino horn and a rifle after a shootout with rangers in the park.

The arrest took place at Kruger National Park on Thursday 07 September. The police’s spokesperson Katlego Mogale says he was convicted on all charges.

“He was charged with illegal hunting on an endangered species, possession of firearm and ammunition as well as being an illegal immigrant in South Africa,” EWN News.

Mahlauhi’s arrest was particularly important as the country hopes to signal to all poachers: you have been warned. “This will send a strong message to other potential rhino poachers about the consequences of their actions if caught,” says spokesperson Mogale.

Latest rhino poaching statistics:

Although the initial promise of 2017 was to see fewer rhinos killed than in 2016 – the data shows otherwise. In 2016 we witnessed a loss of 1, 054 rhinos in total. At the beginning of 2017 rhino poaching started off slow, giving hope to game reserves everywhere. As the year continued, the predicted trajectory according to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is the loss of 1. 073. The DEA is currently recording a loss of 1.91 rhinos per day.

Statistics from the DEA website illustrating data about rhino poaching.

Statistics from the DEA website illustrating data about rhino poaching.

Why is saving rhinos important?

Rhino killings have spiked within the recent decade to the highest in recorded history. This species is high on the endangered list with little sign of coming back if poaching continues at this rate.

These ‘megaherbivores’ are important for some reasons. The species as a whole has been around for 40 million years. They are an important part of the natural ecosystem. Many species of plants and animals depend on their survival.

Additionally, they bring in a lot of money through tourism as they are the worlds second biggest ‘megaherbivore’ and belong to the Big Five.



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