South Africa’s Kruger National Park invites bids for 500 white rhinos

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’s is inviting bids for rhinos under a plan to move 500 of the animals to safety to counter a wave of poaching for their horns, highly prized in some Asian countries as a sign of wealth.

In newspaper adverts on Sunday, South African National Parks invited potential buyers to “make a written offer to purchase white rhinos in batches of 20 or more”.

Private ranchers own around 5,000 of South Africa’s 20,000 rhinos, part of a thriving game farming industry in Africa’s most advanced economy that caters for eco-tourism and hunting.

The government is turning to the private sector because the Kruger has become the main poaching ground for the animals.

at rest. South African national parks are trying to sell some of the animals to private buyers to protect them from poachers. Photograph: Alamy

More than 1,000 were poached in South Africa last year – three times the tally in 2010 – to meet soaring demand for horn, coveted as an ingredient in in fast-growing economies such as China and Vietnam.

Government data shows at least 821 have been killed illegally so far this year, 531 of them in the Kruger. The 2014 total is widely expected to exceed 2013, when a record number of rhinos were poached.

People buy rhinos as an investment for a number of reasons. Rhinos are used to attract tourists to a lodge for game viewing and for legal trophy hunts and are traded in an open market. Some ranchers have also bought rhinos in the hope that trade in horn will be legalised at some point.

But given the rising risks and the growing costs of keeping rhinos secure, the planned sales might not get many takers.

“You are asking someone to put a large amount of money on the table in a speculative venture,” Pelham Jones, chairman of the Private Rhino Owners Association, told Reuters.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 06 Oct 2014.

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Susan Frudd

Why will the people who use rhino horn not be educated, culture is always the excuse or medicines. Surely there must be some way of trying to get the message across to countries like China and Vietnam to make them realize the terrible impact that the medicine they believe to be effective is not so find an alternative that does not involve poaching and killing of innocent animals. So very sad to read so many rhino being poached it must be stopped before we have no more of these beautiful animals.

Adrian Fox

Would they not be better to seek 'buyers' or donations to sponsor a rhino from the public world wide who could pay for better security against poaching?

Julie Zickefoose

Head in hands. How can humanity be so ruthless, stupid and cruel as to deliberately wipe out these gentle beings? This is clearly a desperate and last-ditch effort to save the remaining individuals that saddens me deeply.

marco van heugten
marco van heugten

(double?)check?: this is the official but this is an even less optimistic article on a part of the history ‘On the 13th August 2014, released further earth shattering information that 260 of these rhinos had been sold to three hunting safari companies in the Northern Cape namely Winterhoek Safaris, Chapunga Safaris and Steyn Safaris. Apparently the contracts with the abovementioned were signed in October/November 2013, 10 months prior to cabinet approval being given for the relocation of these rhinos.’: good luck