Trophy-hunters will be allowed to shoot nearly twice as many black rhinos in South Africa

Trophy-hunters will be allowed to kill almost twice as many South African black rhinos in the future after the country won permission to sell more shooting rights.

The EU was among those supporting the plan to increase hunting of the species, which is classed officially as critically endangered – only one step down from being extinct in the wild.

Conservationists condemned the decision – which doubles the proportion of the total killed to 0.5 per cent – as “mind-boggling”.

Nine black rhinos could be targeted every year after the proposal was passed at the world’s largest conference on the wildlife trade in Geneva, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which polices global trade.

Poaching for the illegal trade in rhino horn drove black rhinos to the brink of extinction between 1960 and 1995, as numbers plummeted by 98 per cent, to fewer than 2,500 worldwide.

south Africa

Kruger National Park, in northeastern South Africa, is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. Its high density of wild animals includes the Big 5: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. Hundreds of other mammals make their home here, as do diverse bird species such as vultures, eagles and storks. Mountains, bush plains and tropical forests are all part of the landscape.

South Africans should prepare for price hikes over the next few months

Wednesday’s petrol price increase is likely to be the catalyst for another set of price hikes across the country over the coming months.

Petrol 93 and 95 will be subject to an 81 cents per litre hike, while diesel 0.05% increases by 58 cents and diesel 0.005% by 59 cents per litre. Illuminating paraffin increases by 59 cents per litre.

The main reason for these increases are mostly the large increase in international oil price with a small percent due to the volatile exchange rate, says Dawie Maree, head of Information and Marketing at FNB Agribusiness.

“This is unfortunate news for producers and consumers in the sense that transport cost will definitely increase due to this, which will have a negative effect in disposable income of the consumers.

“On the producers side, February is normally a quiet month in terms of grain production, but we expect that producer inflation will increase in the coming months. There is an expectation of further food price increases as well.”

These latest price hikes, which follow months of successive increases, will put further strain on consumers who have to contend with higher costs across the board, including for electricity and food, said  Neil Roets, chief executive of Debt Rescue.

“While the rand is performing relatively well against the dollar, which has softened the financial blow to some degree, the international price of Brent crude has increased, and is having a knock-on effect on local fuel costs.

“This affects the whole supply chain of transport, goods and services, and adds impetus to a rising financial tide that is negatively impacting consumers,” he said.

Roets said that the ‘ripple effect’ will be significant. He added that the impact is compounded by consumers who continue to suffer in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, with millions having lost their jobs during the past year.

While government’s R350 grant was a lifeline for many, this has come to an end for now, meaning those without jobs and/or limited incomes, will feel these price hikes even more, he said.

“Compounding this issue is the fact that the cost of a taxi or bus ride will rise, making it more expensive for millions of South Africans to seek, or get to and from work.

“Many – as much as 30% according to Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor – also turn to buying food on credit during these times, which might add some immediate relief, but has long-term consequences due to the steep interest rates it incurs, adding to further debt woes,” said Roets.