KZN businessman pays nearly R1m to hunt rhino
Johannesburg - A Kwazulu-Natal businessman has paid over R960,000 for the right to hunt a white rhino in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, the news website, iol.co.za, reported on Sunday.
"The animal sold for R960 150. The hunt date has not yet been booked," Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Waheeda Peters told the news service.
The park administrators, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, put out a tender online which invited holders of hunting licenses to bid to kill the rhino.
Simon Bloch, an activist with the Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching said he could not understand the move when rhinos were already in danger.
"We are supposed to be fighting poaching. What kind of message are they sending out if we are shooting rhinos ourselves?”
He said his organisation had asked Ezemvelo to postpone the awarding of the tender as it was trying to raise money to pay for and thus save the rhino.
Ezemvelo CEO Bandile Mkhize said that the funds raised through the hunts were used for conservation.
"The removal of a small number of individually identified rhino males actually enhances overall metapopulation growth rates and furthers genetic conservation," she was reported as saying.
At the beginning of December, 405 rhinos had been killed in the country in 2011, compared to 333 killed in 2010, according to SA National Parks statistics.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, three of the five rhino species globally are critically endangered.
This year, the fund declared that rhinos in Vietnam had become extinct.
Rhino horn is apparently highly sought after in Asia for medicinal purposes.
According to the Save the Rhino website, at the turn of the 19th century, there were approximately one million rhinos.
Today, fewer than 24 500 survive in the wild, with the vast majority of these found in South Africa.