Rhino poachers operating in South Africa, especially along the country’s border with Zimbabwe, will soon face a new opponent, the Gripen fighter jet, according to a report from FlightGlobal. The revelation followed another announcement that the South African Air Force (SAAF) had finally gotten nearly all of its Swedish-made aircraft out of storage and back onto the flightline.
“And if we do nothing, the rhinos will all be gone,” Mashaba said. Poachers and other illegal hunters killed more than 1,000 of the endangered animals in both 2015 and 2016, primarily for their horns, which end up as black market luxury items, ingredients for holistic medicines, or just plain old trophies. South Africa is reportedly home to approximately 75 percent of Africa’s total rhino population, including 2,000 of the critically endangered black rhinos.