South African Minister of Environment, Barbara Creecy, has proposed increasing the yearly number of black rhinos that can be hunted from five to a maximum of 10 animals. Will hunting rhinos help conserve them or is this a turn for the worst?
At the same time, she proposed allowing international trade in white rhino horn. The decision is open for public comment until the end of September.
The government is hoping that the hunting quota increase, and legalising rhino horn trade will help rhino populations by encouraging breeding by private rhino owners.
Thankfully, a permitting and monitoring system is in place for rhino hunts. Strict conditions for hunting black rhinos stipulate that only older, post-reproductive or 'problem' bulls are permitted.
However, the decision to increase black rhino hunting quotas has sparked debate around whether doubling the quota is going to help protect the species?
Some argue adding a monetary value to rhinos through hunting quotas will encourage conservation efforts. Others say there is no need to issue more hunting permits for the endangered rhino since in past years the smaller five-rhino quota has not been met.
Of all the rhino species, black rhinos have been hit hardest by poaching. But in South Africa, their numbers have increased over the past years. Only 800 black rhinos existed in the country almost thirty years ago. By the end of 2017, there were over 2000. It seems current efforts to preserve this elusive rhino subspecies are paying off. At Rockwood, we focus on conserving the Southern White Rhino.
This rhino species population has grown in South Africa from less than 50 animals in 1910 to more than 15 000 in 2017. Of that, 45% of both species live on private land. But white rhino populations are still at risk, due to the high demand for rhino horn. To this day, on average, one rhino is killed every eight hours in South Africa.
As a committed conservation facility, Rockwood has taken an aggressive approach to rhino conservation. By keeping abreast with the latest in scientific conservation methods and research, we focus our energy on doing our very best in preserving white rhinos.
On average one rhino is poached every 8 hours in Africa. Which is why we at Rockwood are doing everything we can to save the species from extinction. But looking after over 300 rhinos is no small feat. We need your help.
*Please note, saving the rhino is an expensive undertaking, that’s why participating in projects is subjected to a registration and participation fee. It’s one of the ways we generate funds to keep doing what we do.