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Stakeholder perspectives on the value and challenges of private rhinoceros ownership in South Africa

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JournalHuman Dimension of Wildlife
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Nov 2019
DatePublished (current) - 25 Nov 2019
Number of pages11
Original languageEnglish


The value of private sector rhinoceros conservation in South Africa is a topic of much debate, often fueled by controversies surrounding trade in rhinoceros horn. We used semi-structured interviews (n = 16) to assess perceptions of private rhinoceros owners and other stakeholders regarding the value of the industry and its challenges. All stakeholders attested to the conservation value of privately-owned rhinoceroses and identified poaching as the main challenge. Most of the private owners identified the lack of legal international horn trade as driving the escalation in poaching, whereas other stakeholders perceived a wider range of contributing factors. The rhinoceros owners mostly favored international trade in rhinoceros horn, whereas non-governmental organization representatives were broadly opposed. Other stakeholders noted both positive and negative outcomes. Our results suggest greater collaboration between private sector stakeholders and government agencies will be essential for consensus around future management policies, especially concerning divisive options such as trade.

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