After two decades of rampant hunting cut Zimbabwe's rhino population by more than half, efforts to protect those that remain are showing signs of success. According latest figures, poaching rates dropped by 66 percent in 2013 -- though rhino numbers are still startlingly low.
Wildlife officials say that 20 rhinos were hunted illegally last year, down from 60 in 2012 and a peak high of 84 in 2008.
Still, with just an estimated 750 rhinos remaining in Zimbabwe, the loss of even a single animal to poachers comes as serious blow to the already hard-hit species.
"In the late 1980s we had close to 2,000 rhinos and then they (numbers) crashed," says Geoffrey Matipano, director of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority.
Stepped up security in rhino sanctuaries, along with stiffer penalties for convicted poachers have lead to a decline poaching rates -- though the fact that the animals are harder come by may have illegal hunters, driven by a demand for rhino horns, have poachers looking elsewhere.
During this same period in neighboring South Africa, a record 1,000 rhinos were killed illegally -- a 50 percent increase over the year before.
Action Guide: Wildlife Trafficking
Every year, wildlife traders reap a collective $10 billion to $20 billion in profits from poaching and trading products like rhino horn, ivory, alligator skin, tiger paws, eggs, bushmeat, live animals used as pets, and much more -- not to mention illegal live animal sales. HSI has developed this guide to help avoid buying products made from this illicit trade. Born Free USA has this helpful state-by-state guide on which animals are illegal to own (many because they are illegally obtained). For more information, or to become more involved in this issue: WWF's anti-trafficking campaigns, Save The Rhino, andTraffic.