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Rhino Poaching in South Africa
Episode 12121st December 2021 • My AP Biology Thoughts • Hopewell Valley Student Publications Network
00:00:00 00:09:20

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My AP Biology Thoughts  

Unit 8 Ecology 

EPISODE TITLE: South African Rhino Poaching

Welcome to My AP Biology Thoughts podcast, my name is Keenan Wallace and I am your host for this episode called Unit 8 Ecology-Threatened Rhinos in South Africa. Today we will be discussing South African Rhino Poaching and how it relates to the AP Biology Curriculum. 

Segment 1: Overview of Rhino Poaching

  •  numbers poached rising in recent years:
  • 13 Rhinos poached in 2007, peaked in 2015
  •  1175 Rhinos killed in south africa in 2015 (more than 3 a day),
  •  number poached has since declined with 394 killed in 2020
  • Rhino population has decreased from 1 million in the 1800s to only 27,000 in the wild today.
  • Rhinos are a keystone species: They play an integral role in their ecosystem and many other species in the ecosystem depend on their presence

Segment 2: Evidence that supports dangers of rhino poaching

  •  Rhinos are so large that they actually Geo-form: change the land around them
  • Rhinos often wallow in mud to keep cool and ward off insects. 
  • This helps maintain waterholes
  • When the rhinos get out they track the fertile, nutrient rich soil that accumulates in waterholes far and wide, distributing the nutrients. 
  • Rhino dung supports other species and food chains
  • Rhino dung fertilizes soil
  • Dung beetles lay their eggs in rhino dung, which also supports species that eat the beetle larvae
  • A number of bird species rely on Rhino dung for insects and seeds. 
  • Rhinos support fly and tick species as well as animals that eat them, like terrapins (a kind of turtle) and oxpeckers (the iconic symbiotic relationship)
  • Keep grass short, allowing plant species that can’t survive among long grass to thrive.

Segment 3: Connection to the Course

  •  Without rhinos, all of these roles would be left unfilled and with its foundation gone the ecosystems would begin to collapse. (keystone species)
  • When you hear about rhino conservation, this is why it matters. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of My AP Biology Thoughts. For more student-ran podcasts and digital content, make sure that you visit

Music Credits:

  • "Ice Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
  • Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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“Vanishing Rhinos - The Impact of Rhino Poaching on the South African Ecosystem. (n.d.). The Scientista Foundation.” The Scientista Foundation, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

“Poaching Numbers | Conservation | Save the Rhino International.” Save The Rhino,, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

“Why Are Rhinos Important for Ecosystems? - Africa Geographic.” Africa Geographic,, 25 May 2020,