110 rhino legally hunted in 2010

More than 200 rhino have been poached this year and 110 have been legally hunted.

This takes the number of “unnatural” rhino deaths for 2010 above 300.According to Albi Modise, spokesperson for the environmental affairs department, the provincial breakdown for legal rhino hunts is as follows: Limpopo 27, the North West 55, the Eastern Cape 5, Mpumalanga 5, the Northern Cape 5, the Free State 8, the Western Cape and Gauteng 0.“KwaZulu-Natal issued permits for five rhinos to be hunted, but figures weren’t available at the time of your request,” said Modise.Rhino hunts sold for between R356 000 and R400 000 this year, with the values determined according to the weight of the horns. In 2008, hunters despatched 103 white rhinos at an average price of R450 993 per animal. Three black rhinos were hunted that year at an average price of R1 903 273 per rhino. An average price for the 107 white rhino hunted in 2009 hasn’t been established.

According to Rusty Hustler, head of security for the North West Parks and Tourism Board, the figures for the North West and Limpopo are so high because these provinces haven’t introduced the practice that requires hunting operations to demand a curriculum vitae from every prospective rhino hunter. This practice was mooted by the national biodiversity investigators forum years ago and is now operational in all other provinces.“The purpose is to establish the hunting credentials of all applicants, which is essential if you want to prevent rhino being legally hunted for the illegal market,” explained Hustler. “All kinds of odd things happen in the absence of this filter. In my view, the whole thing is going to turn upside down soon and there’s going to be a backlash against hunting operations because of the abuses happening in some provinces.” – Sean Christie

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