For immediate release For further information contact
Adri Kitshoff, PHASA CEO,
on 012 667 2048 or 083 650 0442
TROPHY HUNTING SAVED THE RHINO,
Pretoria, 23 September 2013 – The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) said today that the abundance of white rhino in South Africa is almost exclusively due to the impact of private wildlife ownership and trophy hunters.
South Africa is home to around 19 000 white rhinos or about 75% of the world’s entire population. An extract from the Government Gazette 36117, dated 1 February 2013 on white rhinos states that rhino numbers have been growing at 7% per year from about 6 000 in 1991 to today’s figure of an estimated 18 800 individuals.
According to the gazette: “A number of key events apparently contributed to the exponential increase in the national population of white rhino since the late 1800s, such as the advent of translocations and policy changes both locally and internationally that created economic incentives for the private ownership and protection of rhinos.”
PHASA CEO Adri Kitshoff says that economic incentive is the substantial amount of money foreign hunters pay to come here and hunt. “A rhino can fetch up to R650 000, which is a massive incentive for farmers to dedicate their land to rhino and other wildlife conservation.”
“It may sound counter-intuitive but foreign hunters are the biggest contributors to the preservation of the species and if it wasn’t for hunting, the rhino might have already been extinct.” she says.
The biggest threat to rhino is poaching. In 2010 333 rhino were poached, in 2011 448, in 2012 668 and the figure for 2013 stands at 635 with some experts predicting it to reach the 1000 level. Kitsfoff says she is alarmed by the amount of people who still don’t know the difference between poaching and hunting. “Hunting is a legal activity which, in addition to being a very effective conservation mechanism, contributes approximately R2 billion to the fiscus every year and creates work for around 100 000 people, mostly in marginal areas. Poaching, on the other hand, is stealing,” she says.
“What’s more, the hunting and wildlife ranching community is very involved in anti-poaching initiatives. PHASA, for example, has raised R9 million through the annual African Wildlife Heritage Gala Dinner which is used to train guides, ranges and protected area managers as well as anti-poaching initiatives across the SADC region.”
Issued by du Plessis Associates on behalf of the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa.
Website : www.phasa.co.za facebook: PHASA