The Kruger National Park Veterinary Wildlife Services Unit has been busy catching rhino for one of its annual rhino auctions. Due to be held on March 12, 2005, the park hopes to sell about 20 white rhino, some from the holding bomas and others on catalogue. Rhinos of both sexes are sold.
According to Dr Markus Hofmeyr, Head of Veterinary Wildlife Services, “SANParks is swapping one biological asset for another.” This is because the proceeds from the sale of the rhino go into a special fund that is used to acquire more land for national parks and for dedicated conservation projects. Dr Hofmeyr said that the rhino are mostly captured from areas on the periphery of the park where they would be most at risk from poachers.
They also target areas where there is a high population density, as in these areas the male rhino sometimes injure or kill each other during their social interactions. Any rhinos that are caught that do not acclimatise rapidly to the bomas are released back into the park.
Rhino prices currently stand at about R120,000 per animal, with females reaching higher prices than males, and cowcalf pairs usually being in high demand. The price of white rhino has declined over the years as the number of rhino in private nature reserves has increased. The record price of a rhino sold in the park stands at about R330,000