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The Minister of Environmental Affairs Gazettes the Biodiversity Management Plan for White Rhino for Public Comment

02 April 2015


The Minister of Environmental Affairs on Tuesday, 31 March 2015, published the Biodiversity Management Plan for white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simumin Government Gazette No. 38619 for public comment.

The gazetting of the Management Plan is in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 and was developed in accordance with the National Norms and Standards for the Development of Biodiversity Management Plans for Species published in 2009.

The Biodiversity Management Plans for Species allows for the monitoring and review of actions taken to conserve species in the wild amidst a changing environment.  It also requires that, in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, all management plans compiled by conservation authorities are approved by the Minister for public participation and implementation respectively.

The development of the Biodiversity Management Plan for white rhino is intended to enhance conservation of the species.. Additionally, the development of this Biodiversity Management Plan is in response to an instruction from the Environmental Parliamentary Portfolio Committee as a result of the current upsurge in rhino horn poaching. It also reflects on the commitment of the key partners involved to work together in order to effectively achieve priorities highlighted in the Minister’s rhino summit as well as try to curb the illegal poaching and trade in rhinos.

The main purpose of the proposed Biodiversity Management Plan is to ensure the long-term survival in the wild of the species and provide for monitoring and reporting on the progress with implementation of the plan.

The planenables the evaluation of conservation progress and management and sets out key actions and strategies needed to ensure that monitoring, protection, conservation and sustainable management of the species will contribute to meeting conservation goals and contribute towards meeting the long-term vision for conservation of white rhino.

This plan builds upon an initial “Strategy for conservation and sustainable use of wild populations of southern white rhino Ceratotherium simum simum in South Africa” that had been developed following a stakeholders workshop convened by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Rhino Management Group and approved by MinMEC on February 29th 2000 (RMG 2000); but which is now outdated and needs to be expanded and revised. In addition, it is informed by the National Strategy for the Safety and Security of Rhinoceros Populations in South Africa (DEA 2011) and the Rhino Issues Management Report (DEA 2013).

The South African white rhino Biodiversity Management Plan sets short-term or five-year targets and provides a long term vision aimed at ensuring the successful management and growth of the species.

The vision of the plan is “a world with reduced poaching and demand for illegal rhino horn, where the future survival of wild white rhinos is ensured in South Africa, through secure populations which are economically and ecologically sustainable, and which provide a source of founder rhinos to help repopulate former range states as needed”.

The short-term or five-year target is aligned to the present escalating poaching situations, setting a “realistic goal” of a meta-populations of at least 20 400 white rhino in South Africa by 2020.

The key components of the proposed Biodiversity Management Plan are protection, monitoring, permitting and stock control, sustainability, biological management, effective communication and collaboration and hunting of rhinos.

The proposed Biodiversity Management Plan also outlines the present process being led by the Committee of Inquiry into the feasibility, or not, of a legal rhino horn trade ahead of the 16th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in South Africa in 2016.

National Environment Management: Biodiversity Act provides the opportunity for any person, organisation or organ of state desiring to contribute to biodiversity management to submit to the Minister, for approval, a draft management plan for an indigenous or migratory species warranting special conservation attention. The Norms and Standards for the development of Biodiversity Management Plans for Species (BMP’s), developed in terms of section 9 of NEMBA, outlines the process, format and scope that should be used to develop biodiversity management plans for indigenous species.

Members of the public are invited to submit to the Minister of Environmental Affairs, within 30 days of the publication of the notice in a Gazette, written representations on, or objections to the draft Biodiversity Management Plan to the following addresses:

Hand delivered to:         

Attention: Ms Humbulani Mafumo
473 Steve Biko Street
Arcadia, Pretoria

By post to:

The Director-General
Department of Environmental Affairs
Attention: Ms Humbulani Mafumo
Private Bag X447

By fax to: 0865411102 or (012) 359 3636;

By e-mail to:

An electronic copy of the draft BMP can be downloaded from the link:

>>National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) The Draft Biodiversity Management Plan for White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) (GN 269 of 2015)

Comments receivedafter the closing date may not be considered.

For media inquiries contact:

Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871


The white rhino is currently listed under the internationalIUCN Red List as Near Threatened  (Emslie 2011) and nationally as Least Concern (Friedmann & Daly. 2004). However, given the recent continued escalation of poaching and the fact that the national list is outdated, both of these Red Listings are under review. Preliminary suggestions indicate that the national listing may change to Vulnerable (Emsilie R, pers comm).

The IUCN’s African Rhino Red List Authority is to update the international status. It  is also currently listed as a protected species in terms of section 56(1) of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) (NEMBA). In addition South Africa’s white rhino population is included in CITES Appendix II but only for the export of live animals to appropriate and acceptable destinations, and the export of hunting trophies. All other specimens of the South African white rhino population are deemed to be included in Appendix I for which international commercial trade in horn and other rhino products is currently prohibited.

The white rhino warrants special attention as a species both through its global status as well as its conservation dependence and current poaching threats.  Hence, the development of a Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP-S) for this species to ensure its long-term survival in the wild has become inevitable.