Credit By: BBC
The largest wildlife non-governmental organization in Africa, African Parks, has set out on a historic conservation mission to rewild the world’s largest privately owned rhino herd in secret places across southern Africa over the next ten years. The Platinum Rhino Project is an initiative that attempts to stop the illegal rhino horn trade by flooding the market with horns that have been sustainably obtained, in addition to protecting these magnificent animals.
The Audacious Goal of the Platinum Rhino Project
The vast Platinum Rhino project involved breeding over 2,000 white rhinos in captivity. By offering a legitimate and sustainable source of rhino horns, the aim was to upend the East Asian rhino horn trade by bringing down the market price of ivory and lessening the incentive for poachers. Financial difficulties beset the initiative, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) persisted in its 1974 prohibition on selling rhino horn.
John Hume’s Auction and African Parks’ Intervention
John Hume, the breeder behind the Platinum Rhino project, had to auction off every rhino in April due to financial difficulties. African Parks made a big statement on August 4th: They had bought the whole herd of Platinum rhinos and planned to rewild them in different parts of southern Africa. This enormous project needed to pay for the rhinos’ international migration within Africa and obtain them.
The Significance of This Rescue
The 2,000 rhinos African Parks has purchased make up about 15% of the southern white rhino population still found in the wild. Many of these rhinos were raised on John Hume’s vast ranch, while others were saved because of different situations, such as being abandoned or their mother’s milk drying out.
African Parks: The Greatest Preservation Agency
African Parks are uniquely prepared for this massive project because they oversee 22 protected areas across 12 countries. They have a proven track record of successfully reintroducing and translocating species, including rhinos, back to Malawi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Together with reintroducing lions, cheetahs, leopards, and wild dogs, they have also started a historic initiative to relocate 500 elephants.
The Challenges of Rewilding
Although rewilding thousands of rhinos is no easy task, rhino conservation specialist Dr Richard Emslie thinks they are ready for their new lives. Citing prior successful experiences with black rhinos moved to Eswatini, and he proposes that they can be regarded as “semi-wild” instead of “semi-captive.” Their capacity to adjust to new surroundings was demonstrated when one of the females mated with a wild rhino just a few months after they arrived.
A Shaft of Hope for the Preservation of Rhinos
The Platinum rhino herd’s acquisition by African Parks and their dedication to rewilding them mark a major step in rhino conservation. This project contributes to the larger endeavor to prevent illicit wildlife trade, maintain biodiversity in Africa, and protect vulnerable species by giving these rhinos the chance to flourish in their native habitat. This rewilding project gives the rhino population on the continent some hope as the world watches.
Follow ARP Media for more amusing content.