(WASHINGTON DC, September 9, 2019) In the latest example of hunting serving wildlife conservation, the Trump administration and US Fish and Wildlife Service approved the import of a black rhino taken by a Michigan hunter in 2018 in the African country of Namibia. Lost in the dramatic reporting since the import was granted is the crucial role of hunting in the conservation and status of black rhino in Namibia; this oversight does an injustice to Namibia’s successful rhino conservation program and denies the general public the knowledge necessary to understand conservation of rhino.
Specifically, half of the 5,500 black rhinos in the wild are found in Namibia and the country more than doubled its black rhino population between 2001 and 2012 and continues increasing it by five percent annually. This remarkable recovery was achieved through a conservation program that relies on sustainable hunting to manage herd balance, fund counter poaching operations, fund park management and incentivize local communities to protect rhinos. This is possible by acknowledging the simple fact that for the good of the herd and to allow for herd growth, certain rhinos must be removed.
According to well documented scientific literature, including reports by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) African Rhino Specialist Group, removing a limited number of older, post-productive rhino bulls stimulates growth of rhino numbers through:
- Reducing male fighting and juvenile mortality, a result of older rhinos becoming highly aggressive and territorial;
- Maximizing herd growth, which is attained when populations have greater female numbers and the herd is kept below their area’s carrying capacity in order to minimize the risk of density-dependent effects such as the availability of food sources; and because
- Relocating post-productive males does not alter their increased aggression and expression of dominance over other rhinos, which often results in the killing of females and calves.
If sport hunting is not allowed in order to remove post-productive black rhino males from the herd (.05% of the population), then conservation rangers will be forced to do it. However, in that case, Namibia’s conservation department would miss out on the revenue generated through legal hunting, which provides an excess of $400,000 per rhino for its rhino management program.
Namibia’s black rhino hunting program also benefits local communal conservancies, providing income, meat and funds to reduce human-wildlife conflict. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) concluded, in two separate reports, that without the revenue and benefits generated by hunting, the recovery of the black rhino could not only stop but be reversed.
“SCI commends the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Trump administration for approving the import of this black rhino. It represents a tremendous accomplishment for the hunter and for the country of Namibia by allowing for the continued success of the country’s black rhino conservation efforts,” said Steve Skold, President of Safari Club International.
For more information on the success of the Namibian black rhino conservation program and how hunting has played a critical role, please visit https://www.safariclub.org/blog/sci-applauds-usfws-and-trump-administration-approval-black-rhino-permit.
Safari Club International – First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI’s approximately 200 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries. SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.SafariClub.org, or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.
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Contact: Chip Hunnicutt