Ceratotherium simum simum (Reference Number: Cer_sim_Aug2012)
Summary of findings
The South African population of Ceratotherium simum simum (white rhinoceros) is included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for the exclusive purpose of allowing international trade in live animals to appropriate and acceptable destinations and the export of hunting trophies. In terms of Article IV of the Convention, an export permit shall only be granted for an Appendix II species when a Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species. This document details the undertaking of a non-detriment finding (NDF) (Figure 1) for C. simum simum and is based on the best current available information.
The white rhinoceros is a long-lived species with a low reproductive rate. It is relatively adaptable, being able to survive in a variety of grassland and savanna habitats. Individuals disperse rapidly into new areas and in unfenced areas can move over very large distances. The species is sensitive to human activity and is thus conservation dependent, occurring solely in protected areas and on game farms.
The distribution of the white rhinoceros in South Africa is fragmented. However, it is a widespread and common species in the country, with the approximate size of the national population estimated to number 18,800 individuals in 2010, a significant increase from the approximately 6,000 white rhinos in 1991. Analyses undertaken by the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group indicate that the national average growth rate of the white rhino population was just over 7% from 1991 to 2010.
A number of key events apparently contributed to the exponential increase in the national population of white rhino since the late 1800s, such as the advent of translocations and policy changes both locally and internationally that created economic incentives for the private ownership and protection of rhinos. There is however some uncertainty about the future national population trend since population models indicate that the white rhino population in the Kruger National Park, which represents just over 50% of the national herd, may be expected to fluctuate non-directionally between 9,000 and 12,000 animals.
Link to the full Government Gazette here: NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT: BIODIVERSITY ACT, 2004