The Southern white rhino was on the brink of extinction in the 1950’s. It was due to the foresight of a few visionary people such as Dr. Ian Player that brought the species back from the brink. It was the ability for the state and the private sector to gain financially from owning, selling, translocating, viewing via ecotourism and hunting white rhino has greatly contributed to the conservation of this species and its habitat in South Africa.
Hunting of white rhino in South Africa started in 1968 when there were only approximately 1,800 white rhino in Africa. The CITES annotated Appendix II listing in 1994, that allowed for the export of live rhino and continued exports of hunting trophies, was followed by an exponential increase in the number of white rhino in South Africa, from approximately 6,380 animals in 1994 to the more than 18,800 individuals today.
The concomitant increased value of white rhino on auctions has encouraged the expansion of rhino numbers and range and by the beginning of 2011 privately owned game farms provided habitat for 23% of the national herd whilst adding a further 22,274 km2 to the national conservation footprint. This video production re-counts this amazing conservation success story and warns of the perils of protectionism.