White rhinos

Alan Smith
Published May 25, 2016 09:48 AM






One of the first group of large mammals that we saw on our recent visit to the Sabi Sands were 5 white rhinos - a family group of 4 and a male who was grazing slightly apart from them. We saw rhinos on quite a few of our game drives. Their ancestors were around 5 million years ago but they have a very uncertain future. This hasn't been helped by the South African Supreme Court's decision to overturn the ban on sales of rhinoceros products within the country. As there doesn't appear to be an internal market, this can only provide a route to supply products (illegally) to the international market.

The overturning of the ban was sought by those who argue that permitting hunting of rhino and trading in their products will raise much needed funds towards their conservation. As far as I can find out, there has been no independent research to back up this premise and acurate figures of the amount of money that goes into conservation from this type of operation are hard to come by, so, as far as I'm concerned, this is just an unproven theory at the moment. We do know that when sales of ivory were permitted they led to an increase in demand and a subsequent increase in poaching. For the sake of rhinos, we should assume that the same will apply to them until there is evidence to the contrary.

The current population of Southern White Rhinos is the result of a successful conservation programme in South Africa. It would be a pity if future generations were not be able to see sights like this because of wrong decisions about how to protect and conserve the species. Good, unbiased research needs to be undertaken urgently before it is too late for these prehistoric pachyderms.

Comments


Safarious

Commented May 26, 2016 08:01 AM
Stunning gallery! Beautiful creatures!


Alan Smith

Commented May 26, 2016 09:27 AM
Thank you Clare. I first saw Southern White Rhinos in Meru National Park, Kenya in 1985. They were kept under 24 hour armed guard, yet only a few years later they had all been killed, along with their guards. Let's hope that these animals will have a better future.

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