2008年5月，「非洲犀牛專家小組」會議更新了非洲大陸犀牛數量，估計反映了2007年12月非洲的犀牛數。儘管盜獵猖獗，兩種非洲犀牛的野生數量持續增加，白犀牛(Ceratotherium simum)達到17475隻，而黑犀牛(Diceros bicornis)達到4230隻。
Rhino poaching in both Africa and Asia is increasing, finds a report issued today by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN and the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.
The trade is being driven by Asian demand for rhinocerus horns and the report documents killing by sophisticated poachers, who now are using veterinary drugs, poison, crossbows and high caliber weapons to kill rhinos.
The report documents a decline in law enforcement effectiveness and an increase in poaching intensity in Africa. Over the past three years, 95 percent of the poaching in Africa has occurred in Zimbabwe and South Africa, according to the new data.
The situation is most serious in Zimbabwe where rhino numbers are now declining and the conviction rate for rhino crimes is only three percent.
Despite the introduction of a number of new measures, poaching and illicit horn trade in South Africa also has increased, investigators found.
Rhinoceros horns are used in traditional Asian medicine where they are prescribed for fevers and convulsions. They are also prized as dagger handles in Yemen and Oman.
Most rhino horns leaving southern Africa are destined for medicinal markets in southeast and east Asia, especially Vietnam, and also China. The report highlights Vietnam as a country of particular concern noting that Vietnamese nationals operating in South Africa have recently been identified in rhino crime investigations. In addition, concern has been expressed about the status of Vietnam's single Javan rhino population.
There is some good news in the report, which documents that in some areas rhino populations are increasing.
African continental rhino numbers were updated at the African Rhino Specialist Group meeting in May 2008, with estimates reflecting the population status of Africa's rhinos as of December 2007. Despite high levels of poaching, both rhino species in Africa have continued to increase in the wild, with white rhino, Ceratotherium simum, up to 17,475 and the black rhino, Diceros bicornis, up to 4,230 animals.
Asian rhinos have not fared so well. A total of about 2,800 animals of all species remain in the wild in Asian countries.
The report raises concerns over the low and declining numbers as well as the uncertain status of some of the Sumatran and Javan rhino populations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The Javan rhino, Rhinoceros sondaicus, is now only found in two populations in the wild and is classed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
"Unlike south Asia and a number of African rhino range states, there has also been very limited government support for rhino conservation efforts in southeast Asia," according to the report. "Vast areas of suitable rhino habitat have been altered for palm oil cultivation and other development, leaving rhinos more vulnerable to poaching. In other cases, protected areas have also suffered encroachment."