Rhino Bonds

Years of poaching has pushed South Africa’s black rhinos to the brink. Could a first-of-its-kind conservation initiative turn the tide?


The scheme, launched by the World Bank, brings the principles of corporate finance to wildlife conservation, in the form of a $150m five-year ‘rhino bond’.


The bond will fund rhino protection, and investors will get a return on their money if (but only if) the population grows. After five years they will also receive their investment back. If numbers drop, investors may lose part or all of their money.


The scheme represents a new approach to conservation financing because it passes risk to investors and allows donors to pay for successful conservation outcomes. It remains to be seen to what extent investors will be willing to take the risk.


Dr Andrew Terry of the Zoological Society of London, which helped develop the bond, said its launch was “a watershed moment for wildlife conservation”.


Last month, OGN wrote about another initiative aimed at curbing poaching: solar-powered motorbikes. Arguably a poacher's worst nightmare! Anti-poaching rangers on petrol-powered bikes can be heard up to 45 minutes before they arrive so a Swedish company called cake has come up with a sturdy solution to help rangers in South Africa. Now, rangers on silent electric motorcycles (charged by abundant sunshine) can sneak up on poachers undetected and bust them, whereas previously the poachers would have had time to pack up and run away. It's great news for wildlife conservation! Let's hope the Rhino Bond proves successful too.

 

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