Rhinos in Texas

It is the most valuable wildlife commodity in the world.

Fetching up to $60,000 a pound on the black market, the rhinoceros horn is coveted greatly by millionaires in Asia who use it as a status symbol or grind into traditional elixirs as a aphrodisiac or folk cures for various ailments.

By comparison ivory from poached elephant tusks are going for about $1,500 a pound. That’s chump change compared to rhino horn.

Large-scale poaching of the now critically endangered black rhino resulted in a dramatic 96 decline from 70,000 individuals in 1970 to just 2,410 in 1995 according to Save the Rhino, a strictly rhinoceros-based conservation organization.

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“Thanks to the persistent efforts of conservation programs across Africa, black rhino numbers have risen since then to a current population of between 5,042 and 5,458 individuals.”

“The overwhelming rhino conservation success story is that of the Southern white rhino. With numbers as low as 50-100 left in the wild in the early 1900s, this sub-species of rhino has now increased to between 19,666 and 21,085.”

But poaching has increased dramatically.

In 2007 there were 13 rhinos poached in South Africa. That number skyrocketed to 83 the next year and by 2015 there were 1,175 rhinos poached. That means one out of every five rhinos was killed drive by the aforementioned Asian market.

There is no end in site to the killing. Despite the use of surveillance drones, shoot to kill policies on poachers in some area and increase awareness, poachers are hitting rhinos and they are hitting them hard.

Some believe the solution to saving the species involves bringing them to Texas.

Hundreds of orphaned baby rhinos could be moved into Texas where they could be kept far away from poachers on highly managed private ranches. The thought process is the gene pool could be preserved while conservationists figure out what to do with the problems in Africa.

I will have a full feature article on this project in the May edition of Texas Fish & Game. I am very excited about the project and the article. In fact, I was so excited I had to tease it a little bit here.

This rhino project has many challenges and we will be covering it in-depth fashion not only in that article but also here.

Chester Moore, Jr. 




3 thoughts on “Rhinos in Texas”

  1. Chester, This is a great idea to bring em here to Texas.
    In my evaluation of this plan even on game preserves in Texas there will still need to be measures taken to secure their safety half a world away. If poachers are capable of entering a European Zoo (Paris) and kill the rhino for it’s horn the same type of actions can occur here. The only difference may be that hand guns and semi automatic rifles are outlawed in most European countries where as here in Texas you never know what type of weapon someone may be carrying on their person (CHL) or have available to use when the bad folks come calling. The odds are in favor of the Rhino here in Texas to reproduce and remain protected. Do you think if landowners allow endangered Rhinos on their land the state will allow an Agriculture tax exempt status? After all Rhinos are herbivores. I look forward to additional articles regarding this topic. Keep up the good work.

    1. They will be MUCH safer here. The ranches they would be considered far are way off the beaten path and the rhinos would not be just free to roam large tracts. In fact, from what I have gathered that is the reason they have not bee cleared to come yet. There are wrangling over just what type of fence area they would be contained in. I went out to YO Headquarters last year and spoke with the Sadler family who owns it and they had someone come out to evaluate their place and it looked good for them. I am trying to find out more about what the status is on the regulatory part of it. This will come with a heavy price tag at all levels so it wont’ just be for anyone with land.

  2. Chester, I am not disputing the fact any Rhinos delivered to the US and particularly Texas have better odds of survival to live and breed without the fear of being slaughtered. What I am saying though is that the measures which should be taken to protect them cannot be left to chance. Even here in Texas we have a problem with poaching and if groups of illegal profiteers can kill a rhino in a zoo for its horn then we cannot underestimate how far people will go to obtain a thing of perceived value. I am fully in support of doing whatever is necessary to protect all endangered animals be they rhinos, elephants, tigers, bears, lions , leopards, ocelots, macaws, you name it. The overpopulation of people in certain parts of the world result in the exploitation of resources of which animals have always been a casualty.

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