The critically endangered Black Rhinoceros.
Photo: Supplied

SA approves hunting of critically endangered black rhinos and leopards

The government said over R1 billion income is generated from the trophy hunting of endangered species including black rhinos.


The critically endangered Black Rhinoceros.
Photo: Supplied

Fisheries and Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy, has approved  the quotas for the trophy hunting of black rhinos, leopards and elephants in South Africa for 2022.

These species are regarded as critically endangered because of the sharp decline of their population in recent years due to poaching and other various reasons.


According to the department, the quota for leopards has been set at 10 animals, and is informed by robust data generated through a sophisticated national leopard monitoring programme. 

Leopard hunts will only be allowed in areas where leopard populations are stable or increasing. Only male leopards 7 years of age or older may be hunted. Implementing a strict seven-year age minimum for trophy leopards dramatically reduces the risk of overharvesting.

A total of 10 black rhinos may be hunted, and 150 elephants. Only adult male black rhinos will be hunted. The quota for black rhino is based on the national population estimates for black rhino per subspecies, all three of which show an increasing trend at present.

Spokesperson, Albi Modise said only a very small portion of the overall elephant population is hunted in a year (less than 80 elephant bulls, which is less than 0.3% of the total population). He added that the national elephant herd shows an increasing trend and the quota of 150 is well within sustainable limits.

The breakdown of the quotas for 2022 are as follows:

  • 10 Leopards, allocated as follows:

(i) Seven male leopards for Limpopo Province;

(ii) One male leopard for KwaZulu-Natal Province; and

(iii) Two male leopards for North-West Province.

  • 150 Elephants
  • 10 Black Rhinoceros 


According to World Wild Life (WWF) Black rhinos are the smaller of the two African rhino species. Black rhinos remain critically endangered because of rising demand for rhino horn, from some Asian consumers, particularly in Vietnam and China, who use them in folk remedies.

The decision has been slammed by animal conservation groups and non-governmental organisations.

The Shannon Elizabeth Foundation which is based in Cape Town said it is disgusted and deeply disappointed by the quotas for the trophy hunting of the critically endangered species.

The Foundation, which is headed by American actress and conservationist Shannon Elizabeth said it is appalling that the South African government would justify trophy hunting.

Despite the outcry, the department said The hunting sector conservatively contributed R1.4 billion to the economy in 2019. The income generated by the species fees totalled approximately R1.1 billion, of which approximately R208 million were derived from the trophy hunting of threatened or endangered species.  

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