Skip to main content

Are We Winning the Rhino Wars?

Are We Winning the Rhino Wars?

Populations are dwindling rapidly, pushing the species to the brink of extinction. In fact, the plight of the rhino is so dire that the South African government recently lifted a six-year moratorium on banning domestic rhino horn trade in what the government hopes will save some 20,000 southern white rhinos.

And while efforts on the part of federal agents and game conservationists, like Ivan Carter, host of Carter's War on the Outdoor Channel, are doing their best to end the black market sale of the rhino's parts, one is left to wonder: "are we too late to save the rhino?"

Poachers are the main cause of dwindling Rhino populations. Licensed professional hunter and conservationist, Ivan Carter is attempting to save these animals from the ravages of poaching.  Photo credit: carterswar.com

A recent Observer News article notes "Rampant poaching is estimated to drive the species into extinction in less than two decades. According to the South African government, 749 rhinos have been killed so far in 2015.


"Rhinoceros horns are in high demand on the black market in China and Vietnam — a kilogram can be worth up to $100,000 due to perceived medical benefits. Sales increased dramatically in 2008 after a rumor surfaced about a politician in Vietnam using the horn to cure cancer.


Poachers use barbaric methods to both kill Rhinos and remove valuable Rhino horn. Can Ivan Carter help to stop these atrocities? Photo credit: carterswar.com

Since then, it has become a popular alternative to cancer treatment — in many cases, the need for medical care has rapidly outpaced the availability of medical experts in the country. The horn is also believed to cure hangovers and improve virility, and its expensive price has made it a symbol of social status in many countries.

"A 2014 study conducted by Dr. Enrico di Minin of the University of Helsinki in Finland estimated a legalized rhino horn trade could yield annual profits of $717 million. Advocates for lifting the ban in South Africa argue it would result in sustainable practices allowing game farms to harvest rhino horns, which would later grow back. Poachers, on the other hand, generally kill the rhinos to take the horn quickly. By lifting the ban, the South African government hopes to deter poaching and regulate trade."

In another recent article, author Jani Actman from National Geographic pointed to San-Francisco based start-up Pembient, who makes synthetic rhino horn as a possible solution. "Pembient hopes synthetic horn — priced at about one-eighth that of the reported $60,000-a-kilogram that genuine horn commands — will flood the market. Prices for the real thing would fall, goes the argument, curbing the economic incentive for poachers — and helping save rhinos in Africa."


But conservationists quickly attacked the company's idea "asserting that fake rhino horn won't solve the poaching problem and could even make it worse. They say that rhino horn powder-infused products could open more markets for illicit horn. The company is now focusing on supplying synthetic rhino horn for the carving market.

And so, the battle continues. Previous efforts by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents, while successful in stinging a few, have done little to stem the slaughter, which spans across multiple countries. Although a recent case in New York reported by the Associated Press in which an antiques dealer was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit $1 million spurs hope that penalties in the U.S. for dealing in illicit rhino horn are growing stiffer.


Poachers: they have no empathy. They kill the defenseless. Their motive is money and their methods are maddening. Rhino poaching much be stopped. Photo credit: carterswar.com

Though vilified by anti-hunting groups, it may very well be hunters, like Corey Knowlton, who save the rhino in the end. Knowlton bid $350,000 to take a single black rhino on a controlled hunt sanctioned by the Namibian government several years ago.

According to Petersen's HUNTING, the Dallas Safari Club, who held the auction, "had backing from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to go forward with the auction with the express purpose of culling a "rogue" male from a herd in the Mangetti National Park. The bull targeted would be of advanced age, no longer capable of breeding and probably known to have killed or injured others in his group."

Sale of the permit raised money that went straight to rhino conservation.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Former Delta Force Operator Kyle Lamb hikes the rugged desert mountains of northern Sonora in pursuit of the diminutive Coues species of whitetail.

B&C Typical Mule Deer

B&C Typical Mule Deer

Doug Burris Jr's typical mule deer taken in 1969, could just be one record that will never be broken.

Moon Phase Rut Tips

Moon Phase Rut Tips

John Dudley, technical writer and host of Nock On TV discusses why it's imporant to follow moon phases for the rut.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The famous gunmaker – Springfield Armory – stakes its first flag in the hunting world with the new, feature-packed Model 2020 Waypoint bolt-action rifle.New Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint Rifle is a Must-See Guns

New Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint Rifle is a Must-See

Petersen's Hunting Staff - September 29, 2020

The famous gunmaker – Springfield Armory – stakes its first flag in the hunting world with the...

We evaluate the 6.5 in a real-life case study. Is The 6.5 The Perfect Hunting Caliber? Ammo

Is The 6.5 The Perfect Hunting Caliber?

Mike Schoby

We evaluate the 6.5 in a real-life case study.

This recipe adds a little something extra to already-perfect venison backstrap – a sweet and spicy relish made with white-flesh peaches.Venison Backstrap with Sweet & Spicy Peach Relish Recipe Recipes

Venison Backstrap with Sweet & Spicy Peach Relish Recipe

Jack Hennessy

This recipe adds a little something extra to already-perfect venison backstrap – a sweet and...

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system.How to Mount a Rifle Scope for Maximum Accuracy Optics

How to Mount a Rifle Scope for Maximum Accuracy

Joseph von Benedikt

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system.

See More Trending Articles

More Conservation

Leasing ground is big business, but is it bad for hunting?The Impact of Leasing Land on Hunter Participation Conservation

The Impact of Leasing Land on Hunter Participation

David Hart - May 05, 2020

Leasing ground is big business, but is it bad for hunting?

A historic announcement, this marks a great success story in the world of conservation. SCI, USFWS Announce the Delisting of Gray Wolves Conservation

SCI, USFWS Announce the Delisting of Gray Wolves

Joe Ferronato - November 02, 2020

A historic announcement, this marks a great success story in the world of conservation.

In 2018 the federal government paid farmers to open their gates to hunters. Private-Land Access Programs for Public Hunting Conservation

Private-Land Access Programs for Public Hunting

Andrew McKean - July 17, 2020

In 2018 the federal government paid farmers to open their gates to hunters.

Is doe urine really the culprit behind so many deer deaths?Deer Urine Bans & The Spread of CWD Conservation

Deer Urine Bans & The Spread of CWD

David Hart - December 13, 2019

Is doe urine really the culprit behind so many deer deaths?

See More Conservation

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now