The Current

Saving rhinos with anti-poaching drones in South Africa

The rhino remains a species under siege, as poachers target the beasts for their magnificent horns. We head to Kruger National Park, where poaching is so serious it can resemble a combat zone for Park Rangers tracking illegal hunters. There's hope unmanned aerial drones can save the rhinos from being killed....
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The rhino remains a species under siege, as poachers target the beasts for their magnificent horns. We head to Kruger National Park, where poaching is so serious it can resemble a combat zone for Park Rangers tracking illegal hunters. There's hope unmanned aerial drones can save the rhinos from being killed.

Rhino Facts -- WWF South Africa

With its huge, stocky frame and big protruding horn, the rhinoceros is truly a breath-taking animal. But it turns out that 2014 was a deadly year for the species.

On Thursday, the government of South Africa announced that a record-setting 1,215 rhinos were killed by poachers there in the past year. That's a 21 percent increase over 2013. And the survival of the species is at a critical juncture.

2/3 of rhinos killed in 2014 were in South Africa's Kruger National Park. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)


South Africa is home to 80 per cent of the world's remaining rhino population. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the rhino could face extinction within 20 years if the poaching numbers continue their current climb.

Nowhere is the situation being felt so keenly as in Kruger National Park.Two thirds of the rhinos killed by poachers last year were there. It's a vast, nearly 20,000 square kilometer park in the country's north-east corner.

This segment was produced by The Current's Catherine Kalbfleisch.