SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

South Africa's Rhino Management Plan

The Biodiversity Management Plan for South Africa's black rhinoceros aims to ensure the survival and sustainable growth of the country's rhino population in the face of a changing environment and the ongoing threat posed by poaching.

Gazetted last week by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, the plan envisages the continued existence of the global black rhino population through the continuation of viable populations of the two indigenous black rhino subspecies in natural habitats throughout South Africa.

The short-term, 10-year goal is to achieve an average South African meta-population growth rate for the two subspecies of at least 5% per annum, so as to achieve meta-population sizes for the two subspecies of 3 060.

The plan states that effective law enforcement, improved relations between neighbouring countries, effective criminal investigations and prosecutions, and the securing and monitoring of rhino horn stockpiles, remain key to minimising losses from poaching.

Human resources should also be developed so that there are sufficient skills available to protect and manage black rhinos, while sustainable political and social support for rhino conservation efforts should be encouraged.

Strict hunting guidelines are included in the plan to ensure proper control over the removal of animals from breeding populations, and to combat illegal hunting.

The plan "will contribute significantly to the management and conservation of black rhino, presently under threat from poachers," the Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Conservation Plan for the Black Rhino, which forms the basis of the Biodiversity Management Plan for the black rhino, was jointly developed by South African members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Rhino Management Group.

The South African Rhino Management Group, which functions under the auspices of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Rhino Specialist Group, is to manage the implementation of the plan, including the legally required approval of management plans submitted by rhino conservation bodies for adoption by the government.

- SANews.gov.za

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