South Africa Rhino Poaching

Zachariah Mutai attends to Fatu, one of only two female northern white rhinos left in the world, in the pen where she is kept for observation, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia county in Kenya on March 2, 2018. According to four new United Nations scientific reports on biodiversity released on March 23, 2018, Earth is losing plants, animals and clean water at a dramatic rate. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

JOHANNESBURG — Reporting a 25 percent decrease from the number slain in 2017 for their horns, South Africa’s environmental affairs ministry said Wednesday that poachers killed 769 rhinos last year.

South Africa is home to most of the world’s rhinos. Authorities there say have attributed the encouraging numbers to security and other nationwide anti-poaching efforts, but conservationists speculate that there are simply not enough rhinos left for poachers to kill because of their past intemperance.

Rhino horn is made of the same substance as human fingernails, but consumers in Asian markets believe it has curative effects if ingested in powder form.

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