White rhinoceros are Near Threatened due to illegal poaching as a result of organized criminal syndicates, increased black market prices, and nontraditional medicinal uses of rhino horn.
The reason for the white rhinoceros rating as Near Threatened and not Least Concern, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN,) Red List is due to the continued and increased poaching threat and increasing illegal demand for horn, increased involvement of organized international criminal syndicates in rhino poaching, as determined from increased poaching levels, intelligence gathering by wildlife investigators, increased black market prices, and apparently new nontraditional medicinal uses of rhino horn. In the absence of conservation measures, within five years, the species would quickly meet the threshold for Vulnerable if poaching rates were to further increase.
Rhino horns are poached from animals in the wild and, in some cases, stolen or illegally sold from horn stockpiles, private trophies, and museum exhibits. In recent years, poaching levels have increased in major range states South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. Swaziland also recently lost its first rhino to poaching since December 1992.
“Psuedohunting,” where sport hunting has been undertaken by individuals from non-traditional hunting countries, has also probably been responsible for some of the illegal horn getting onto the market.