At least half of Africa’s rhinos are now in private hands. New paths for rhino conservation are needed

by the University of Helsinki
January 19, 2023

Until the past decade, the largest population of rhinos was found in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. This state-run park has, however, lost 76% and 68% of its white and black rhinos over the past decade, respectively. By contrast, the number of white rhinos on private land has steadily increased over the same decade, particularly in South Africa.

Private rhino owners now conserve at least half of the continents’ remaining rhinos, and communal lands conserve a growing proportion as well.

In a new article published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, scientists from the University of Helsinki in Finland and the Universities of Stellenbosch and Nelson Mandela in South Africa have compiled publicly available rhino population data for African countries where rhinos occur, disaggregated by state, private, and communal land types where possible. They consider the implications of an emerging shift in rhino conservation from state to private and communal lands, and chart a new path for rhino conservation.

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