Effective field protection of rhino populations has been critical. Many remaining rhino are now concentrated in fenced sanctuaries, conservancies, rhino conservation areas and intensive protection zones where law enforcement effort can be concentrated at effective levels. Monitoring has also provided information to guide biological management decision-making aimed at managing rhino populations for rapid population growth. This has resulted in surplus animals being translocated to set up new populations both within and outside the species’ former ranger. However increasing black market prices for rhino horn, and increased poaching of rhino and involvement of criminal syndicates in recent years pose a significant threat to rhino populations. Increasing efforts are also being made to integrate local communities into conservation efforts. Strategically, White Rhinos are now managed by a range of different stakeholders (private sector and state) in a number of countries increasing their long-term security. In Southern Africa live sale of White Rhinos on auction (and limited sport hunting of surplus males) has also created incentives for private sector conservation and generated much needed funds which can help pay the high cost of successfully monitoring, protecting and managing rhino. Over 5,500 White Rhino across Africa are now managed by the private sector throughout Africa with the majority in South Africa (AfRSG 2011).
By 1977, all African rhino species were listed on CITES Appendix I, and all international commercial trade in rhinos and their products was prohibited. However, following a continued increase in numbers, the South African population of Southern White Rhino was downlisted in 1994 to Appendix II, but only for trade in live animals to “approved and acceptable destinations” and for the (continued) export of hunting trophies. In 2004, Swaziland’s Southern White Rhino were also downlisted to CITES Appendix II, but only for live export and for limited export of hunting trophies according to specified annual quotas. To help reduce illegal trade, and complement CITES international trade bans, domestic anti-trade measures and legislation were implemented in the 1990s by a number of the major consumer states and law enforcement effort has been stepped up in many consumer countries. In addition to local, national, international and continental initiatives, there are a number of regional African rhino conservation initiatives: the South African Development Community (SADC) Rhino Management Group , recently formed East African Rhino Management Group and the Southern African Rhino and Elephant Security Group/Interpol Environmental Crime Working Group. IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group is the continental coordinating body for rhino conservation in Africa.
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