“O, give me a home where the White Rhino roams …?” The Exotic Wildlife Association (EWA) and Group Elephant are hoping to transport 1,000 (4% of the species) orphaned and endangered White Rhinos from South Africa to private ranches in South Texas where they’ll be safe from criminal poachers.
Why? Right now, South Africa is losing 3 or more Rhinos per day just to poaching. This poaching is being coordinated by well-organized crime syndicates. Funding from the illicit trade of rhino horn is even finding its way into the bank accounts of terrorist organizations.
Group Elephant is dedicated to the preservation of at-risk Elephants and Rhinos, which they plan to do in part by alleviating poverty among rural People in areas adjacent to the threatened species. That’s where they get their acronym, ERP.
To demonstrate, the annual income in Africa is just $1,700. However, the income from just one pair of average male elephant tusks is $28,000. The income for a single rhino horn is a whopping $90,000 per kilogram, and the average horn weighs 4 kilograms.
To say the incentive to kill the animals is high would be a gross understatement.
The EWA and ERP are currently working on a deal which will hopefully result in the relocation of 1,000 White Rhinos to South Texas, where the endangered mammals would find a safe haven in an climate and habitat very similar to their own natural environment in South Africa.
It is hoped that once these ancient creatures find a new home, they’ll be able to breed and bring up young in safety, leading to the preservation and eventual recovery of the species.
Texas Monthly reports, “The plan for what to do with the rhinos once they’re in Texas is interesting: rather than attempt to build a rhinoceros sanctuary that could house a thousand rhinos, the organizations intend to adopt them into private homes. The rhinos they’re looking to bring in would be orphans—white rhinos, which make up the bulk of the remaining 25,000 rhinoceros, have a complicated family and social structure—and many of them will come over very young. [EWA executive director Charly] Seale told the paper that ‘some of them will be in the weaning ages,’ and that raising rhinos won’t be cheap, and will require background checks and the construction of new facilities to house them.”
There are currently only about 20,400 White Rhinos left in the whole world. Black Rhinos have been even more devastated, with only about 5,000 remaining alive. At the beginning of the 20th century, their numbers were in excess of 500,000.