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Chapman, L.A.; White, P.C.L., 2021. Patterns in rhino poaching activity on private land in South Africa. African Journal of Ecology 2021 - early view: https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.12842
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Location: Africa - Southern Africa - South Africa
Subject: Distribution
Species: African Rhino Species


Original text on this topic:
Poaching on private land may potentially significantly deplete the rhino population yet is poorly studied. We focus on temporal patterns in poaching events, whether there is any evidence of targeting of specific categories of rhino (in relation to species, sex and age) and whether these patterns in poaching show any trends over time. Using rhino owner and (mainstream and social) media reports, we complied a database of private land poaching events between 2003 and 2017. Patterns in poaching activity were broadly consistent over time. Poaching is most likely at night, under the full moon, and close to the property perimeter. Whilst there was no consistent temporal pattern in poaching, there was evidence of increased poaching during the weekend (Friday–Sunday) compared to weekdays (Monday–Thursday) in 2017. Prioritising rhino protection efforts at these times may therefore be the most efficient use of limited resources. Because there is no evidence that poachers selectively target rhinos, efforts undertaken by private owners to protect specific individuals or groups may be ineffective. Our research also highlighted key data that were currently not clearly recorded, including collateral calf deaths and lost pregnancies, which may have a significant impact on the scale of the rhino poaching problem.

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