Tuesday, 7 October 2014

South Africa’s Kruger National Park invites bids for 500 white rhinos

Animals offered to private buyers in attempt to move them to safety as poaching increases to meet demand for horns

Reuters in Johannesburg

The Guardian, Monday 6 October 2014 19.07 BST

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is inviting bids for rhinos under a plan to move 500 of the animals to safety to counter a wave of poaching for their horns, highly prized in some Asian countries as a sign of wealth.

In newspaper adverts on Sunday, South African National Parks invited potential buyers to “make a written offer to purchase white rhinos in batches of 20 or more”.

Private ranchers own around 5,000 of South Africa’s 20,000 rhinos, part of a thriving game farming industry in Africa’s most advanced economy that caters for eco-tourism and hunting.

The government is turning to the private sector because the Kruger has become the main poaching ground for the animals.

More than 1,000 were poached in South Africa last year – three times the tally in 2010 – to meet soaring demand for rhino horn, coveted as an ingredient in traditional medicine in fast-growing economies such as China and Vietnam.

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