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SOS Rhino : In the News : Conservationists urge caution with rhino hunting

Conservationists urge caution with rhino hunting
13 May 2005

Following a decision taken by members of the Cites convention, which regulates international trade in endangered animals and plants, which allows the hunting of five black rhino in South Africa every year, the issue is still being hotly debated by conservationists.

Conservation officials in KZN say at least two old black rhino bulls could be hunted in the province each year, but are holding fire pending a final decision by board members of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Khulani Mkhize, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife CEO said the organization supported sustainable use of wildlife resources, including hunting, but wanted a meeting on the issue before a decision was made.

Whilst several rhino experts and conservationists including Dr Ian Player have urged caution, senior scientists and rhino researchers believed there is a sound scientific basis for the hunting to proceed.

They believe that too many bulls have depressed the overall reproduction rates, whilst increased fighting has also led to lower birth rates, with aggressive rhino bulls killing females.

To them, this is a very real biological problem which can be overcome by allowing limited rhino hunting, whilst to others like Tim Snow, of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the concerns were more that the preconditions regarding carefully selected old bulls would inevitably lead to a "canned" hunting scenario.

Whichever side of the debate you are on, you can be sure that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife will make a decision that has at its core, the future of conservation and the survival of our magnificent wildlife heritage.

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