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Mission of South Africa National Parks for Rhinos

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Mission of South Africa National Parks (SANParks) is to develop, manage and promote a system of national parks that represents biodiversity and heritage assets by applying best practice, environmental justice, benefit- sharing and sustainable use. And delivery of conservation mandate by excelling in the management of a national park system. SANParks funding was granted by government and was supposed to be discontinued in 2015. SANParks needed to find alternative sources of fund to become self-sufficient and cover expense of the services which were beneficial to all parks wildlife.

Rhinos are being hunted and killed for their horns at an increasing rate. As part of SANParks mission, they have the responsibility to conserve rhinos in SANParks and maintain rhino’s population. This task has been a challenge for SANParks, and with funds being cut, it will be more difficult.

Executive Summary

Animal bones and thousands of stone tools used by ancient hominins suggest that early human ancestors were butchering and scavenging animals at least 2 million years ago. We still follow our ancestors, but in a modern way, we farm them for food and economical income; poultries and cattle farms are examples of this fact. Other than farming, hunting and poaching is happening in some parts of the world in legal or illegal way and for variety of reasons. It can be for purpose of scientific studies and researches, cultural and religious believes, or use of animal parts in hand crafts.

Sales, hunting and poaching rhinos in south Africa is happening, and increasing year by year which can result in distinction of rhinos in near future. SANParks are selling rhinos for income generation purpose; 50 percent of sold rhinos end up in private hunting companies and are killed within two years. In addition, illegal killings and hunting happen for the valuable horn of rhinos. The threat of rhino’s population decrease to be linked to institutional, market and policy failures. Policy implications include raising poaching fines, raising wildlife value awareness and incentivizing the community benefits of wildlife conservation. Kruger national park has the most significant population of rhinos compared to other parks and neighboring countries. This increasing in size of the rhino population has made South Africa the main target for criminal syndicates seeking rhino horn. At the same time, law enforcement levels appear to be too low to disrupt illegal activities. In particular, the anti-poaching effort, the total number of field rangers deployed to protect rhinos, is insufficient for counteracting the current spike in rhino poaching. In addition, the monetary fine upon conviction most likely represents a negligible amount for criminal syndicates compared with the revenue they generate illegally.

In following sections of the paper, five capital model of sustainability is used and the ones applicable for this case are discussed and recommendations offered to minimize the poaching and selling of rhinos.

The Five Capitals Model

There are five types of sustainable capital from where goods and services are derived and can be used to improve the quality of life. Natural, Human, Social, Manufactured and Financial capital construct the five capital model. This framework is being used to analyze SANParks and rhino sales, hunting and poaching. Manufactured capital is not used in this paper and due to overlap between human capital and social capital, these two are discussed in one section.

Natural Capital

Environmental protection is increasingly becoming a necessity and part of a bigger agenda in the urbanizing world of developing countries. Southern African countries are increasingly dependent on natural beauty and wildlife for tourism. Conservation is essential for sustainable tourism, and is expensive, especially for threatened and endangered species. At one level, we value rhinos because we want endangered species and wild places to exist, even if we never see them. Respecting and preserving nature reflect an ethical impulse. But determining the full value of a rhino is more difficult. In some countries, where preserving animals and habitats are keys to tourism, losing these things imposes a steep economic cost. When poacher’s syndicates trade in elephant tusks or rhino horns, the security costs are potentially very high. With regard to rhino selling and poaching, it’s only the current price of a species that is taken into account and its current usefulness, neglecting its value to the wildlife; and the cost these countries need to bear in future if rhinos are extinct. Currently most number of rhinos are living in KNP and statistics show that the province authorities which have the responsibility of protecting rhinos are failing, one reason to this failure is, they are under staffed.

Human and Social Capital

Two major groups that hunt rhinos are tourists and poaching syndicates. One for pride and trophy, the other for financial benefits and value of the horn.

Teams that guard the parks and conserve wildlife habitats are local province authorities and SANParks. They recruit individuals which are skilled in their job. These individuals are veterinarians, helicopter pilots, truck drivers and expert capture staff; which use state of the art technology. Similarly, poachers and poaching syndicates, hire staff with same skills and use the same technologies. Another aspect that fall under human and social capital is the cultural believes of different societies. The amount of rhino horn demand cannot be reduced in near future, because first, GDP of east Asian countries and their purchase power is growing; second, demand for rhino horn has root in cultural believes of people and has been there for thousands of years.

What makes the difference between the one’s protecting rhinos and one’s poaching them? It is the education level, lifelong learning, governance, social/economical/political structure of Middle East, East Asia and South African countries, and economical situation of individuals (including tourists paying for hunting). These differences make a skilled team to support and protect the wildlife and another aiming to hunt rhinos for pride or money. Raising wildlife value awareness and improving economic condition of poachers, can reduce rhino poaching.

Financial Capital

As outlined earlier with the government funds being cut, SANParks were becoming tight financially and needed other sources to overcome expense of their services, these services are important for all parks wildlife and habitat. One major resource to raise funds has been selling rhinos. The selling is profitable and 3 auctions held SANParks generated revenue of $7,033,400 during 2011. SANParks does not have any control on what happens to rhinos after they are sold, but it is known that more than 50 percent of sold rhinos are killed within 2 years from the date they were sold. In addition to this 50 percent rhinos are being killed illegally by poachers as well. There are two major markets for rhino horn. Throughout Asia, rhino horn has been used for thousands of years for both ornamental and medicinal purposes. Ailments that rhino body parts supposedly cure include skin disease, bone disorders, and fever. The second market for rhino horn is the dagger trade in the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen where carved rhino horns are used as handles for ceremonial daggers called jambiyas.



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