South African White Rhinos to Move to Australia, Beeld Reports

Some of South Africa’s white rhinos will be moved to Australia to try save the near-threatened species from possible extinction, Beeld newspaper reported.

Ray Dearlove, an Australian estate agent who grew up in South Africa, and his team from the Australian Rhino Project will place six of the animals under quarantine in May in Johannesburg before moving them to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales in August, the Johannesburg-based newspaper reported. They will then be transferred to the Monarto Zoo.

It costs A$75,000 ($57,000) to move each rhino, with public donations and Investec Plc, which owns a bank and money manager in South Africa and the U.K., funding the project, Beeld reported. The initiative will run for four years in which dozens of white rhinos will be moved, Beeld said.

More than 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2014, up from 333 in 2010. Their horns are typically sold in Asian countries, including Vietnam and China, where they are used in traditional medicines. Rhino horn is composed chiefly of keratin, the same substance as a human fingernail, and there’s no evidence of its medicinal benefit.

There are about 29,000 of the animals left in the wild globally, including 20,405 white rhino and 5,055 black rhino, according to Save The Rhino International, a London-based charity.

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