In South Africa, at press time I still did not have official word from the National Department of Environment regarding those green rhino hunts. I sent a copy of the April issue by e-mail to Chief Director of Communications Roopa Singh with a request for a statement, but have received nothing. In the meantime, rhino darting adventures are proceeding. Subscriber Jim Young wrote me in mid-April about his hunt with Adrian Purdon of Savannah South Safaris (www.savannahsouthsafaris.com). Purdon conducted the hunt in conjunction with Mike Murray of African Field Sports (www.africanfieldsports.co.za) outside of Craddock, Eastern Cape, on March 28. Young says everything about his experience was transparent (the application process included providing a copy of his passport) and a certified veterinarian and a representative from the Eastern Cape Department of Natural Resources were present at all times during the hunt. "It was quite clear that this is perfectly legal in the Eastern Cape," wrote Young. "After we were done with the darting, the vet and State representative had to rush off to another rhino darting that afternoon."
Young's hunt was conducted in the same manner that Tam Safaris (011-27-48-881-1053; www.tamsafaris.com) is now doing rhino dart hunts; specifically, the hunter shoots the rhino with a dart full of vitamins and a veterinarian follows up with a tranquilizer dart. My reporting on this caused quite a stir, with a number of hunting and veterinary professionals questioning the legality and practicality of such a hunt. One person told me it was ridiculous to propose that a rhino could be darted twice on one outing, and that the arrangements were too vulnerable to abuse by outfitters.
Young says he successfully stalked to within 15 paces of a bull rhino and shot it with a vitamin dart. After a brief wait, the veterinarian moved in and shot the animal with the tranquilizer. The bull was loaded onto a truck to be relocated to another area where he is to serve as a breeder bull, so the hunt was clearly for conservation purposes. For those who scoff at the arrangement, Young says........(continued)