Rhinos are one of the oldest groups of mammals, practically living fossils. They play an important role in their habitats and are an important source of income from ecotourism. Protecting rhinos leads to the creation of large land spaces for conservation purposes. This benefits many other species, including elephants.
Illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss are the main threats to the rhino population today.
How much does a rhino cost?
The average cost of a live rhino can go from $30,000 to $50,000 on the black market, depending on the breed, health, age, and where is being sold. Depending on the rhino’s breed, the cost for a rhino calf can be anywhere from $10,000 up to $200,000. Note that the price paid for a black rhino can reach around $350,000.
In China and Vietnam the demand for rhinos is higher than in the United States, so the cost of purchasing one will be much higher.
According to the Kruger National Park, they sold 12 rhinos, which helped them raise about $89,000 for conservation projects.
Here are some of the prices paid for the sold rhinos:
|Adult female with her calf||$11,000|
|Mother with a male calf||$8,700|
Usually, a rhino is sold for around $29,000, but their number has increased in private hands and on black markets, so their cost decreased in South Africa.
How much does a rhino horn cost?
The problem of illegal rhino hunting continues to worsen. The main cause is the growing demand for rhino horns in Asia, where it is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Poachers hunt rhinos to sell their horns on the black market at a price of $6,000 per 100 grams, which is more expensive than gold. One kilogram of rhino horns is currently sold for $60,000 on the black market, while gold is worth just over $40,600.
The problem is international and has reached an extremely serious level. Vietnam remained in 2010 without the last Javanese rhinoceros. The last were taken down inside a national park, and their horns were stolen. Officially, 60 horns are imported into Vietnam annually, but experts say the number of these trophies passes 100 each year. It is also very difficult to track trade because since the sale of horns was banned in 1976, Vietnamese diplomats have been involved in huge traffic.
On the streets of Hanoi, a dose of rhino horn dust costs $10. Animal protection organizations say that in recent years, rhino horns have become a label of the rich in Vietnam, along with Gucci bags and Maybach cars.
How much does caring for a rhino cost?
To properly care for a rhino, you will need to offer it vegetable-based food, veterinary care, a lot of space, and very importantly, safety. All these summed up can make a total cost of $100 per week. For a pelleted diet expect to pay about $14,000 per year. To feed a baby rhino it will cost you around $5 a day, leading to a total of $35 per month.
Can I buy A rhino?
Owning a rhino, like the White Rhino for example, in the United States depends on the exotic animal laws of each state. In some of them, it is totally prohibited to own, breed, sell, or possess a rhino, in some you may need a special permit, and in Oregon, it is legal to possess one.
It will be very difficult to obtain the special permit and you must offer these large herbivores all the needed conditions. They will need a lot of food, plenty of space to run, pond trees, a warm environment, and safety.
States that prohibit the keeping of rhinoceros are:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
States where a special permit is required:
- South Dakota
States where no permit is needed for rhino possession:
Adopting a Rhino
There is also the possibility to adopt one symbolically and help some of the organizations that rescue rhinos from the wild and keep them and protect them in their sanctuaries.
Limpopo Province in South Africa is one of the rhino sanctuaries from where you can adopt one or make a sponsorship. You will never meet the rhino, but you can always receive information about its progress and the sanctuary through social media platforms.
The cost of adopting a rhino starts from $10 to $100 per month. Depending on the adoption fee you get the title as follows:
- $10 – Supporter
- $30 – Protector
- $50 – Angel
- $100 – Saver
South Africa accounts for almost 80% of the world’s rhino population
This country has become a preferred target for poachers, stimulated by demand in the Asian market, where rhino horns are used in traditional medicine due to their alleged therapeutic and aphrodisiac effects.
In 2022, 448 rhinos were taken down in South Africa, three times less than in the previous year, according to the local government, as a result of reinforced measures against poaching in South African national parks.
In 2017, John Hume organized a controversial auction sale of rhino horns to raise funds to fund the conservation of these animals. His initiative has sparked outrage from associations that advocate for environmental protection.
The horns put on sale came from decoration operations. To avoid poaching, these large land mammals are anesthetized and their horns are cut off by a veterinarian. The procedure does not cause pain and the horn then begins to grow again. Rhino horns, composed of keratin, sell for $60,000 per kilogram on the black market.
Its physical peculiarity, that famous horn, represents the essence of the conflict between rhinos and man. Superstitions and archaic beliefs claim that it is the source of unsuspected powers, superhuman or even aphrodisiac forces. Often a hunting trophy and royal symbol, the horn was the reason why rhinos were virtually decimated in certain areas of the African savannah or swampy areas of Asia.