Rhinos to be auctioned to protect them from poachers

2014-10-02 09:19

South African National Parks plans to auction rhinos this year as part of a plan to create protected populations of the endangered animals away from the Kruger National Park.

The sale plans come after an earlier attempt was cancelled. A company associated with billionaire Christo Wiese was among those that were refunded R14 million in deposits, “because proper governance procedures were not followed”.

“We have ironed out these issues,” Kuseni Dlamini, chairperson of SanParks, said yesterday.

“Planning is already under way for the first auction of rhinos.”

At least 769 rhinos have been poached this year in South Africa, with two-thirds of those being killed in the Kruger Park, compared with a record 1 004 of the animals slaughtered last year.

Rhino horns are prized in China and Vietnam, where they are ground up into powder and thought to cure diseases such as cancer. The horn is more valuable by weight than gold and most of the world’s rhino population lives in South Africa.

The auctions will be advertised in national newspapers and will be sold on condition they are bred to boost total population numbers, Dlamini said. Anyone purchasing more than 20 rhinos will have to submit to a security and habitat assessment, he said.

“These agreements will be linked to new management plans with clear objectives and targets for the growth of populations that are being introduced in new range areas,” SanParks said.

Money raised will be spent on conservation.

At the same time, rhinos will be moved to safer areas within Kruger and to other national parks.

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