African rhino populations are on a rise despite poaching and habitat loss, according to the new figures from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The new figures, released on September %%, highlight that protection and biological management initiatives across the continent have resulted in black rhino populations rising by 4.2% to a population of 6,487, and white rhino populations rising by 5.6% to a population of 16,803.
It is the first time since 2012 that there has been an increase in the white rhino population, the species classified as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN’s Red List of threatened species.
There were 5,00,000 rhinos in Africa and Asia at the start of the 20th century, says the World Wildlife Fund. By the end of 2022, the African rhino population stood at just 23,290, according to IUCN’s latest figures.
The rebounding rhino populations are not just a win for rhinos, but for the many wildlife species that share their ecosystems and the people who steward these lands, said Nina Fascione, Executive Director at the International Rhino Foundation, in an interview.
Climate change also poses a growing risk to Africa’s rhino population, as its devastating impacts on human communities have a ripple effect on wildlife and increases the risk of human-wildlife conflict.