The issue of darting rhinos in any form continues to swirl in South Africa. Since my article in the Safari Times last month, more clarified information has surfaced on the matter. Here is the latest information available.
Full-fledged “green” darting of a rhino by a hunting client is still illegal. This is where the hunter fires the tranquilizing dart himself. But, vita-darting of a rhino is legal if it is done under the banner of “medical purposes.” The tranquilizing dart must still be fired by a licensed veterinarian, then a dart full of vitamins is immediately fired by the client. Note that the rhino must need to be tranquilized for some sort of medical purpose. This could entail blood testing, microchip implanting, the need to move the rhino to another property, or another part of the owner’s property, or doctoring for an injury, etc.
Legal permits will be issued for this type of hunt by the government, once justification is determined. I have just spoken with an SCI member who participated in such a hunt with Irvin Tam within the past couple of weeks. The rhino was tranquilized, and then moved to another property. This member has the legal permits in hand.
If you have booked such a hunt, do not cancel it! It is up to the landowner and the veterinarian to determine the medical reason needed to dart the rhino.
On another note, the Safari Club International Record Book & World Hunting Awards Committee has voted to accept vita-darted rhinos into the SCI Record Book of Big Game Animals under the “Darted Rhino” category. This is an effort by them to sustain the economic value of the rhino during these difficult times. As always, a rhino may be hunted with a rifle and the trophy shipped home. You will no doubt see vita-darted rhino hunts available at some of the hunting conventions within the next few months, both on auction and at outfitter booths. You do not need to be afraid to purchase one.
I sincerely hope this adds some clarification to the “what you can, and what you cannot do” concerning rhinos in South Africa.–Herb Atkinson, Chairman, SCI Record Book & World Hunting Awards Committee