A potential white rhino sanctuary may open in Texas to save the species due to the rampant poaching problem in South Africa.
The Exotic Wildlife Association’s Second Ark Foundation is heading up efforts to open a Texas white rhino sanctuary for hundreds of orphaned white rhinos. South Texas is an ideal location for the proposed sanctuary due to the climate (which is similar to South Africa) and the better protection that it gives the rhinos from poachers.
Currently, the white rhino population in South Africa is under siege from poachers; over 1,200 rhinos were killed in 2014. Despite dramatically increased anti-poaching efforts, many African governments are finding themselves unable to combat the dramatic rise in rhino poaching lately.
South Africa has been busy moving rhinos to specific areas in South Africa and to neighboring countries, such as Botswana, in efforts to better protect them from poachers.
While setting up a Texas white rhino sanctuary makes sense from a security standpoint, it will be an extremely complicated and costly venture. Moving animals, especially endangered species such as rhino, across international borders requires a lot of complicated paperwork. It could also cost tens of millions of dollars.
According to Charly Seale, the head of the Exotic Wildlife Association’s Second Ark Foundation:
This is not for the faint of heart or for the faint of checkbook.
That being said, this may well be the best option for preventing the extinction of the white rhino. Similar efforts to provide a sanctuary in Texas for the scimitar horned oryx, the dama gazelle, and the addax were great successes.
Setting up a Texas white rhino sanctuary would allow the rhinos to be well guarded and enable managers of the sanctuary to constantly monitor the rhino population for threats, which would be much easier to do in south Texas than in South Africa.
A Texas white rhino sanctuary could potentially allow for the reintroduction of these rhino and their descendants back to South Africa in the future if things go well.