Rhino poaching between 2008 and this year cost South Africa’s economy R1.1 billion, the Professional Hunting Association of SA (Phasa) has said. Phasa chief executive Adri Kitshoff said some 400 000 hectares of game land had been lost to wildlife conservation because of the risks of keeping rhino and the expensive security measures needed to protect them. Kitshoff was speaking at the Biodiversity Economy Indaba taking place in Polokwane, Limpopo. “Poaching is proving to be a disincentive to own rhino ...” she said. Local and foreign hunters contributed about R6.6 billion a year to the economy but that this figure was understated given the lack of up-to-date statistics. “There is a study under way at North-West University to ascertain the exact number of foreign hunters who come to South Africa as well as the economic contribution of the industry as a whole.” South Africa is home to about 80% of the world’s rhino population, estimated at more than 25 000. According to statistics, 746 rhino have been poached in the country since January.