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Sunday, 2 January 2022   /   published in Helen Lunn, Poaching, South Africa

Private Rhino Reserves in Crisis

South Africa is currently experiencing a significant crisis in the private rhino ownership world. The facts are as follows:

  • There are approximately 11,000 rhinos left in SA; 8,500 of those are in private hands.
  • The decimation of rhinos in public reserves has been so severe that poaching syndicates are now focusing on private reserves.
  • Historically, poaching in private reserves accounted for 1% of rhinos poached; that figure has leapt to 10% in the past year alone.
  • Private reserves do not receive any financial support and the combined impact of the loss in revenue from the absence of tourism due to Covid, together with the increased costs of anti-poaching efforts has reached a tipping point.
  • Reserves are now swapping rhinos out for other animals or simply giving them away.
  • Rhinos that are being moved are being settled in smaller areas where they can be better protected. This is now happening virtually every week. This has increased the need for constant supplemental feeding which has created new financial pressure.

This has become a vicious circle and a deeply concerning one.

Baby Rhino Rescue wishes to stem the moving of rhinos to smaller areas not only because it will inevitably lead to even more vicious and dangerous poaching strategies but mainly because it does wild rhinos no good. A healthy population spread across different regions with adequate grazing is a far more desirable goal.

With this in mind, our goal for 2022 is to add protection for at least 2,000 on private reserves with the installation of perimeter security cameras. It is a goal in line with our commitment to finding practical and useful ways to support the very important conservation work achieved on Private Rhino Reserves.