An Epic Move for Rhinos

crash in kruger © Scotch Macaskill

Crash in Kruger via Scotch Macaskill. A crash is a group of rhino-increasingly rare with the escalation of poaching.

After much speculation as to whether or not it would happen, the South African government has made it official. They have approved moving 500 rhino out of Kruger National Park.

Of the rhino to be moved, 260 will be sold to private buyers and another 250 taken to a safe location.

edna molewa

Edna Molewa, SA Minister of Environmental Affairs

Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, confirmed the possibility the rhino will be sent to Botswana and Zambia, where there will be “intense protection zones”.

According to Molewa, “this move, along with creating rhino strongholds could allow a total rhino population size of South Africa continue to grow.”

Botswana not only has better political and economic stability and a smaller population than South Africa, but they recently banned commercial trophy hunting and in 2013 adopted the controversial shoot-to-kill policy in place for poachers.

In Zambia, the rhino population had been decimated from previous poaching. But groups like African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Rhino are working on bringing rhino populations back to varying Parks. Possession of rhino horn or a conviction of poaching can receive a sentence of 20 years in Zambia. The Tourism and Arts Deputy Minister , Lawrence Evans said poachers and other people engaged in illegal wildlife trade would be dealt with severely.

Prev rhino move from SA to Bots mike cowton

Previous rhino translocation from SA to Botswana. Photo: Mike Cowton

Although logistically moving such a large number of 2 ton animals seems difficult to say the least, they’ve done it before. Between 1997 and 2013 there were 1500 relocated from Kruger. According to Molewa that move “has contributed significantly” to the rhino population.

rhino move via green renais epa

Helicopters have been donated to assist in the move. Photo: Green Renaissance/epa

Disclosure of exact location could endanger the rhinos, yet it would be all too easy to maintain small groups of rhino throughout varying reserves, just enough to avoid questioning; in the meantime, selling the majority.

Even more troubling-Who are the private buyers? Trophy hunters? China? Vietnam?

With the steeping shadow of suspicion looming over them, can South Africa really afford not to be upfront?

According to a report released to the SANParks board, rhino poaching has seen an average escalation of 70% a year. At the time of this posting, 660 have been slaughtered in the current year.

For more on South Africa’s rhino poaching plan: Edna Molewa’s Strategic Management of Rhinos

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “An Epic Move for Rhinos

  1. Reblogged this on Wolf Is My Soul and commented:
    YAY! A small victory, finally!! Moving these high-risk animals away from the majority of poachers is a step in the right diirection.

  2. Reblogged this on hocuspocus13 and commented:
    jinxx xoxo

  3. Moving by helicopter makes me nervous, though. Doesn’t that scare the animal?

    • Yes, it seems nerve-wracking doesn’t it? Rhinos aren’t meant to fly. The rhinos are sedated for the move. But any form of transport is always stressful to some degree, whether ground or air.

      • Oh, okay, I missed that they were being sedated. But you are right – any form can be traumatic. Thank you!

  4. Pingback: An Epic Move for Rhinos | Garry Rogers Nature C...

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  7. From my understanding here in South Africa it appears that the three ‘private’ reserves that have been signed up – ALLOW HUNTING – what is the point of this? Unless of course there is a moratorium placed on the hunting of the Kruger Rhino’s in these reserves. But with our past history of unscrupulous owners, vets etc., who’s going to control what happens on those farms? Personally, I feel that Government is making what they think is an easy choice – this choice could have terrible repercussions for our Rhino. And someone somewhere is going to be lining their pockets with Kruger Gold !!!

    • Exactly. My personal thoughts are since they are facing so much opposition on Legal trade, this is their way of washing their hands of rhino, making it appear as if they are trying, but still turning on buck.

  8. Pingback: Rhino Sales Will Continue at Kruger | Fight for Rhinos

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