|Rhino conservation problems|
Most of southern
Conservation status of the rhino subspecies targeted by the SADC Programme
The conservation and management of rhino populations require an unrelenting effort on several key fronts:
∑ Development and employment of effective institutional capacities The conservation of wild rhinos often requires the co-ordination of a broad range of stakeholders, including several government agencies, non-governmental organisations, private sector operators (for example, tourism operators and private land owners), professional bodies and many others. The institutional capacity to develop policies and enforce conservation measures is also crucial and depends on policies and institutional and political contexts that may vary between countries. Without these supporting and enabling factors, rhino conservation efforts are often doomed.
∑ Maintenance of effective field protection and surveillance through intense patrolling, intelligence, and the detection and control of poaching These functions are essential for conservation efforts to succeed. Effective protection measures depend on critical technical, financial and management resources of the local institutions overseeing protected areas. These institutions need to employ sufficient staff, communications and transport, well-maintained fencing and information management systems.
∑ Conservation of the genetic viability of populations If populations are small and fragmented, then often the remnant groups need to be brought together. Breeding animals need to be exchanged between populations so that inbreeding is avoided. Programmes of translocations allow small populations to be managed as a "metapopulation" with controlled gene flow.
∑ Addressing the demographic concerns of rhino populations The main goal is to achieve the healthy biological growth of populations by reducing mortality and increasing fertility through well-managed stocking densities. Accurate monitoring of the populations and their performance is essential. The countries that have achieved strong population growth of rhino populations have relied on intensive monitoring and management.
∑ Addressing the ecological aspects of rhino conservation areas Environmental factors determine the
∑ Addressing the socio-economic factors of rhino conservation areas The control of poaching and the viability of protected areas are often dependent on their socio-economic context. Rural poverty fuels poaching. Protected areas and conservation need to produce tangible economic benefits if they are to be accepted by local people, to off-set their costs and to play a positive role in raising economic conditions.