Zimbabwe is open for tourism. We look forward to welcoming you!
Follow the link for Zimbabwe Covid-19 Latest Travel News.


How farming rhino will save them

by Michael Eustace

There were 60000 rhino in Africa in 1970. That number should have grown to 600000 by today but we only have 25000, or 4% of what we should have had. Poachers are likely to kill 438 rhino in southern Africa this year. Add another 150 to be killed in pseudo trophy hunts and the total becomes 588.

In order to calculate the total supply of horn, illegal sales by farmers of 100 horns, and 200 horns from natural deaths that are collected and sold illegally , need to be included. This adds up to a total market size in 2011 of 888 horns. These figures are, of course, an approximation.

The wholesale value of the horns from 888 animals at R140000/kg ( $20000/kg), at an average weight of 4kg per horn, amounts to R497m. Most of this money goes to criminals as there is a long-standing ban on trade by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), to which SA is a party.

If there was a regulated legal trade, through a single channel to Chinese state pharmaceutical companies, southern Africa could make R497m a year for parks and conservation. Importantly, there would be no need for the killing of even one rhino, given a legal trade.

SA alone could easily supply 400 horns a year from natural deaths, 400 from stocks and 600 from farmers cropping half their horn (the horn re- grows). That increased volume of 1400 horns would raise R784m a year for parks and wildlife.

But there is much more potential: say the World Bank bought the annual increment of SA’s rhino and lent them to parks in other parts of Africa, where new populations could be established. This loan would be on the basis that a competent entity, either private or public, looked after them.

Rhino populations grow at 6% a year so SA would receive R300m a year from the sale of 1200 animals at R250000 each from its population of 20000 rhino. Combined with the sale of horns, SA would then be earning more than R1bn a year .

In 12 years’ time there would be 20000 rhino on loan from the World Bank to parks in the rest of Africa. Rhino produce 0,8kg of horn a year so if these parks sold half their horn production they would generate 8000kg of horn, which at a wholesale price of R140000/kg would have a value of R1,12bn — mostly profit. This would be enough to finance the annual anti- poaching and operational costs of 160 parks. There are 134 national parks in southern Africa.

At present, most parks in Africa are in decline. If poaching is controlled, these parks will thrive and tourism will increase. Rhino, instead of being a conservation tragedy, could be the catalyst.

There were 46-million tourists in Africa in 2009, less than the number of visitors to Spain. If improved performance of the parks attracted an additional 1-million visitors, who stayed for an average of 10 days at R1400 ($200) a day, that would generate income of R14bn a year for parks and Africa. Parks could make a profit of 8% on this amount — or R1,1bn.

How can the world, as represented by Cites, continue with a failed strategy (the ban on trade), sacrifice 588 rhino a year and fund criminals at the rate of R455m a year, when there is the potential from a regulated trade to produce annual profit of billions for conservation and secure 160 parks, all without one rhino being killed?

If you would like to receive similar updates on everything that happens in the Victoria Falls area - why not sign up for our FREE newsletter, for full details and back issues Click Here.
You can also join us on Facebook and receive all the latest information.

Comments for How farming rhino will save them

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 24, 2012
by: Anonymous

This sounds absolutely nonsense to me.
Killing Rhinos to save Rhinos????

First of all you can not controll where the horn would coming from. Second you cant trust any Chinese trade. Third an open market for horns will encrease the demand enormously.
An open market for horns will kill all Rhinor within some years. The only way would be to stop the illigal trade and the consequent fight against this criminals who control the trade.

What will hapen when the market will be open you can look back some years and have al look at the numbers of elefants beeing killed a year.Without a consequent protection the elefants would be disappered today.

In a perfect fair trade world your suggestions may work but trade is never fair an the wold isnt perfect.

Feb 22, 2013
you are wrong mr/ms annonymous
by: nitharshan


You are incorrectt as you do not kill the rhino but harvest the 0.8 kg horn per year.

another point that must be noted is the WORTH of LIVING rhinos will increase.

Also sales can be monitered

Jun 27, 2013
Farming is the way to go
by: Gerald Thompson

It is only sensible to farm rhino to eliminate the illegal trade by undercutting and flooding the market resulting in the returns for poaching to be severely jeopardised. To achieve this the penalties for poaching MUST continue to be very severe.
A male will produce 50-60 kilo of horn in its lifetime a return per animal of about 3.5 million dollars. A lot of protection can be bought for that. An animal may be darted, dehorned, up and grazing without any pain in 45 minutes. Farmed crocodiles are a success despite 1.4 million skins being sold last year. I have been supplying Electric Fencing to the wildlife market for years now.

Oct 28, 2013
Rhino farming information
by: Anonymous

How can one start farming rhinos? Are they any resources that you can suggest?

Mar 11, 2014
Keep the environmentalists away from the rhinos!
by: Anonymous

The environmentalists are NOT interested in helping rhinos. They are interested in hurting people.

If rhinos become a successfully farmed animal, the conservation jobs of the environmentalists disappear. They would rather have a slowly diminishing group of rhinos dying slowly in terror and pain - it's good for contributions to the activist business...

Click here to add your own comments

Click here to return to Wildlife conservation.


[Top of Page]

Download this 100% FREE Travel Guide with all things Victoria Falls

our Bi-Monthly E-Newsletter

Each issue has a destination update, loads of information about conservation and wildlife, specials offers, traveller tips, community projects, website highlights and tons more...

Find out more about our Bush Telegraph

"Your newsletter keeps me informed about new and old and is the best I've seen in a long while - informative, not commercial, just plain perfect!"  - I.Skliros

Don't worry. Your e-mail address is totally secure. I promise to use it only to send you The Vic Falls Bush Telegraph.



Return to our home page

Download this 100% FREE Travel Guide with all things Victoria Falls
Your payments through Victoria Falls Guide are secured with Trust My Travel

Powered by SBI!

Copyright© 2008 - Tony and Boo Peel. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.