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One day the Times headline writers might figure out what actually helps save rhinos

The paper edition of the Times that hit my doormat this morning had an interesting headline: “Hi-tech kit keeps rhinos safe from poachers”.

The online version has an even more interesting headline: “Hi-tech kit and ex-spies keeps South Africa’s rhinos safe from poachers”.

Neither headline is untrue, both the hi-tech gadgetry and the spies are helping preserve the rhinos, but both are missing something. My use of the “Deleted by the PC Media” tag is a little inaccurate, as is my use of the “Hippos” tag, but we seem to lack a tag for “Rhinos” or for “Never even entered the PC Media’s pretty little heads despite the facts staring them in the face from their own reporting”. See if you can guess what the missing factor is from this excerpt:

South Africa, home to 80 per cent of the world’s 29,000 rhinos, loses about three a day to poachers, the vast majority in state parks. Private reserves have become essential to preventing the animals from extinction, as long as the owners can afford to protect them.

Turning the 150,000-acre reserve into a 21st-century fortress in the African bush costs £1 million a year but the investment has paid off. The park has not lost a rhino in the past two years. It is hardly surprising. At each of the park’s four gates, guests visiting its five-star lodges, as well as staff, only enter after systems have checked numberplates and fingerprints against a national criminal database and are tracked and monitored until they leave.

Kruger National Park is far less secure and the rate of survival among its 9,000-strong rhino population is poor. Sixty per cent of all poaching incidents in South Africa occur there. Too often its rangers, police and officials are in the pay of poachers. Rhino horns can fetch up to £70,000 per kilogram in Asia, where they are imagined to cure a range of ills from hangovers to cancer.

16 comments to One day the Times headline writers might figure out what actually helps save rhinos

  • Appianglorius

    From Wikipedia “Southern white rhinoceros” :

    Almost at the edge of extinction in the 20th century, the southern white rhinoceros has made a tremendous comeback. In 2001, it was estimated that there were 11,670 white rhinos in the wild of southern Africa with a further 777 individuals in captivity worldwide, making it the most common rhinoceros in the world. By the end of 2007, wild-living southern white rhino had increased to an estimated 17,480 animals. In 2015, there are an estimated population of 19,682–21,077 wild southern white rhinoceros

    Since it pays to have rhinos in South Africa – mostly from tourism – it makes sense to have more of them.

  • XC

    Does rhino taste good? Just because it’s eaten in Asia for “medical” properties doesn’t mean it actually tastes good.

    I ask because of the oft quoted theory: no tasty animal has ever gone extinct.

    -XC

  • Mr Ed

    It’s still called the ‘Kruger’ National Park, now that’s survival.

  • I ask because of the oft quoted theory: no tasty animal has ever gone extinct.

    Not true of plants however.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The National Park Rangers probably think they are the experts in rhino preservation and their way is the best.

    It’s called the Done-in-Kruger effect!

    I’ll get me coat …

  • Actually,

    – “loses about three a day to poachers, the vast majority in state parks. Private reserves have become essential to preventing the animals from extinction”

    could be seen as dropping a hint – but you’ve read the full article and I can only too well believe your

    – “despite the facts staring them in the face from their own reporting”

    is all too accurate. (There was also a time when the Times would have written ‘preventing the animals from going extinct’ or ‘protecting the animals from extinction’ but they say journalists are getting younger and less knowledgeable these days. 🙂 )

  • bobby b

    “Rhino horns can fetch up to £70,000 per kilogram in Asia, where they are imagined to cure a range of ills from hangovers to cancer.”

    What this tells me is that our regulatory state is a failure.

    Black rhinos can be dehorned every three or four years without harm. Said rhino has a lifespan of forty to forty-five years. Just by these numbers, raising rhinos for their horns would be many times more profitable than raising cattle.

    But it’s illegal.

    Imagine how many cattle we’d have across the USA if they couldn’t be consumed. We’d likely see a few small herds as curiosities, but that’s all.

    Now imagine how many rhinos would be alive if they could be raised in captivity for their horns.

    Obviously, prices for horns would drop once a large supply came into being, but we’d eventually hit an equilibrium – just like oil wells are opened as prices rise – and rhinos would no longer be endangered.

    And lots of old Chinese men would be happier.

  • Mr Ed

    And lots of old Chinese men would be happier.

    Unlike their ladies…

  • Eric Tavenner

    I ask because of the oft quoted theory: no tasty animal has ever gone extinct.

    There’s the passenger pigeon and the dodo.

  • decnine

    No truly tasty animal has ever gone extinct

  • Paul Marks

    The word “PRIVATE” is in the report – but it is not stressed.

    The truth is that it is indeed PRIVATE ENTERPRISE that is saving these animals – and as soon as the government gets control of these lands (for “the people” as a collective) the animals will be destroyed.

  • Snorri Godhi

    And lots of old Chinese men would be happier

    … as long as the placebo effect works.

  • Fred Z

    Private parks preserve Rhinos and public parks don’t so of course we must ban private parks, raise taxes on the “rich” to give more money to public parks so they will be more “effective”.

    What? What? You know that’s what they are thinking.

  • Rich Rostrom

    My answer is to infiltrate the market for these illegal goods, and contaminate the supply. For instance, sell rhino horns impregnated with estrogen, which should do wonders for the sexual prowess of Asian buyers.

    But that would be unacceptable to the usual suspects.

  • staghounds

    A thousand Rhino horns is a HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS. Get out the saws!

    Seriously- a rhino weighs about four times as much as an Angus steer (500 kg)- call it five.

    Rhino horn can be harvested every five years- call it ten.

    That means that a rhino horn, farm raised, costs the resources of 50 steers.

    Current steer price is about $2.50 per KG.

    $200,000 worth of rhino horn would cost a lousy $62,000 to produce. The prairies of Texas and Mongolia ought to be covered with them.

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