SANParks selling 286 white rhino

2015-04-01 16:46

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Pretoria - SANParks is selling about 286 white rhino to private buyers as part of efforts to protect the species from poaching, the organisation’s outgoing chairperson said in Pretoria on Wednesday.

“A tender was issued for the sale of white rhino to private land owners who fulfil a number of requirements, including habit and security,” Kuseni Dlamini told reporters.

This tender process was currently in the adjudication phase. A team that included auditors from KPMG, national treasury and scientists were currently assessing properties to ensure they provided a suitable and secure habitat.

This was part of a translocation programme started in October 2014 to move some rhino out of poaching hotspots in the Kruger National Park.

SANParks acting managing executive for conservation, Dr Howard Hendricks, said the rhino would not simply be “dumped” onto the properties, but that the organisation would maintain relationships with the owners.

Only white rhino were being sold because there were more of them than black rhino, and because they were the most targeted by poachers.

Dlamini said efforts to stop rhino poaching needed to continue.

Interventions

“While we cannot claim to have won the war against rhino poaching during our term, we have gone a long way towards developing and putting in place the interventions needed to contain this threat to our natural heritage.”

These included a helicopter donated by the Howard G Buffett foundation and use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the Kruger National Park.

It needed the effort of business, NGOs, neighbouring countries and the “whole global community”.

Hendricks said poaching was merely one part of rhino’s mortality rate. Lightning strikes had been killing them as well.

“In the last three years lightning has been more prevalent.”

In Bloemhof, the Free State, last year, two rhino were killed by lightning.  Other areas where this had happened were the Northern Cape and the Waterberg region in Limpopo.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  animals  |  rhino poaching

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