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.
WHY DID THE NUMBER GO UP FOR HUNTING RHINOS?
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.
DOES HUNTING RHINOS HELP STOP POACHING?
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.
DONATE TO HELP SAVE AFRICA’S MOST VULNERABLE WILDLIFE
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.
Africa’s giraffe populations are quietly diminishing. Known as the “silent extinction”, 40% of giraffes have vanished since the 1980s. Where once the continent was teeming with these graceful giants, only 68 000 now remain. Like most other species, habitat loss, poaching and the effects of civil unrest threaten their survival.
In the late 1800s, about 850 000 black rhinos existed in Africa. But, due to unregulated killing, only 100 000 remained by 1960. By 1995, just 2410 black rhinos remained. However, Africa’s black rhino population has more than doubled since the 1990s. Could we finally be seeing a payoff to decades of committed rhino conservation?
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, many of China’s wet markets (where animals are sold as food or pets) were shut down. ‘Wildlife’ markets, on the other hand, sell live wild animals (often illegally obtained). The commercial sale of wild animals for pets, traditional medicines, or ornamental uses has not been outlawed.
From a population of around 10 000 white rhinos and 600 black rhinos in 2010, the numbers are now down to approximately 3 549 white rhinos and 268 black rhinos. Most rhinos were poached in Kruger National Park. If this trend continues, the entire rhino population currently protected by Kruger might be wiped out by 2030.
2020 hasn’t been easy for anyone — the effects of Covid-19 reached far and wide, and were felt in the realm of rhino conservation too. But, no matter what challenges come our way, we persevere and give our all to saving the Southern white rhino. We’d like to share nine conservation success stories from Rockwood for 2020.
We’re always looking for new ways to initiate rhino conservation. So when South Africa’s leading grill company, Megamaster, approached us about a collaboration, we were super excited. The key ingredient in Megamaster’s innovative new eco-friendly firelighter, called Rhino Balls, is our very own rhinos’ dung.