South Africa Gets Approval To Increase Black Rhino Trophy Hunting Quota

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By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

Many countries are trying to preserve their wildlife by taking a strong stance against hunting and poaching. Even recently, India displayed a proud increase in the tiger population making everyone get back their faith in humanity. But then, humans are really strange creatures. They take a step forward and for some reason, leap back a few more steps too. It seems like such a leap backward has been taken by South Africa. The country is allowing the hunting of about double the black rhinoceroses number, or Diceros bicornis, for trophies. This motion has been passed in the CITES conference of 2019.

Also Read: In 4 Years The Population Of Tigers In India Increased By 33%

Of course, it has brought in a lot of controversies. The ruling will now bring up the legal hunt count of rhinos from just 5 individuals to about 0.5% of their entire population in South Africa. If we estimate is properly, it can raise the annual limit to about 9. In a very strange manner, the country achieved this vote when they stated that by increasing the money earned from trophy hunting, they could be investing more in conservation efforts thereby helping these endangered species. They are, after all, under the ‘Critically Endangered’ label in  IUCN Red List. The officials have also stated that adult males would become their chief target in a way to protect the breeding females. However, they have promised to stop if the rhino population falls to a certain limit. That limit, however, has not been specified.

Needless to say, not everyone is happy with the decision. The vote was divided, with Kenya stating that if this trophy hunting is combined with illegal poaching, there could be a loss of about half the rhino population increase each year. Many wildlife organizations and NGOs are against it as well. However, certain countries like Canada, Botswana and Zimbabwe supported South Africa in this decision. Even the European Union-backed them up. According to Tom Milliken, trophy hunting can actually help in boosting the rhino population as by eliminating the older rhinos, younger rhinos can breed with the females and produce healthier offsprings. According to him, it means preventing fights and creating faster rates of reproduction. 

As per the International Rhino Foundation, there are about 5000 to 5500 black rhinos present in the wild as of now. Back in the 1970s, it was a whopping 65,000 (approx). However, it is double the amount from the historic low that it reached back in 1993. 

One great news is that the numbers are slowly rising. They are still under the critically endangered list, and their horns are precious and sold at exorbitant prices in the black market. We are not yet sure how this new motion would help. It seems very dubious. 

Read: Photographer Spends 2 Years Documenting Animals That May Soon Become Extinct, The Pictures Are Heartbreaking

The Rhino trophy hunting scene in South Africa is only one of the important topics tackled by CITES. It is still taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, between 17th August and 28th August. 

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The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a convention of about 183 parties who formed it back in the 1960s. They wanted to monitor the trade of wild animals and plants. It tries to protect more than 35,000 species. Apart from the trophy hunting, they are probably going to discuss ivory trade, exotic pet market and also, managing the elephant population.

Let’s hope they have the best interests in their hearts and in their plans.

IMAGE CREDIT: Etienne Outram

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