Breeding, monitoring and photography: what really helps protect rhinos?

Rhinos have come under enormous pressure in recent decades due to the poaching crisis. Remarkably, this does not always have to be bad news, as Bucher explains: “During the height of the poaching crisis in South Africa from 2013 to 2016, the number of rhinos owned by private companies actually increased.”

The arms race between poachers and rhino owners has now begun. “Poachers enter the parks and are sometimes able to smuggle the antlers out of the country within a few hours or days.” And they have good reasons for this: horn is in high demand, especially in China, and has about the same value as gold.

Arms race in the field

Therefore, their owners are forced to militarize protection. In contrast, poachers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, using phones, drones, or even helicopters. Arms race in the field.

The issue has come into focus again after the NGO African Parks seized a rhino breeding farm in South Africa. More than two thousand rhinos live there on an area of ​​about eight thousand hectares, and they will be spread across various nature reserves in the coming years.

“They’ve taken over a lot of parks in recent decades,” Bucher says. “That can work, but at the same time you also see criticism from Africanists, intellectuals and nature managers that this is another kind of white interference from the outside.”

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Megan Vasquez

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