Already this year, 618 rhinos have been killed in South Africa, with three months left to go in the year. That represents a dramatic rise over years past: Last year 668 rhinos were killed in the country, up from just seven in 2007. South Africa is home to 18,000 white rhinos and 4,000 black rhinos, The Guardian reported.
The slaughters are driven by the demand for rhino horn in Asia, where the animals' horns are prized as status symbols or social currency in networking. Conservationists are hoping that anti-poaching efforts, such as the use of drones to catch culprits in the act, could help lessen the toll on wildlife.