The Zoological Society of London plans to sell an impact bond to grow black rhino population

The bond is aimed at enforcing the conservation of "countable, critically endangered and charismatic" rhinos.

The Zoological Society of London and Conservation Capital are planning to sell a rhino impact bond, aimed at growing the population of the endangered black rhino. 

The sale, which will happen next year, is the first financial instrument for the conservation of endangered species. If successful, it could have a broader application in the protection of other species and the preservation of wildlife preserves. 

The five-year bond will cover conservation efforts at five sites in South Africa and Kenya, where about 700 black rhinos live, with a target to boost the world’s black rhino population by 10 percent. Investors will be paid back their capital and a yield if the number of animals increases. 

The exact sites covered by the bond are confidential. 

Conservation Capital’s Glen Jeffries (pictured) told Bloomberg that the bond will give investors a chance to “recycle” their capital and buyers are likely to be high net worth individuals with an interest in conservation, as well as impact investment funds, so-called ESG (environment, social and governance) funds and foundations. 

The recipients of the funds will be able to use the money for any conservational purposes of their choosing. 

Jeffries explained that black rhinos were chosen because they are “countable, critically endangered and charismatic”. 

There are about 5,500 black rhinos in the wild in Africa. In 1970 there were 65,000. This is compared to about 20,000 white rhinos that mostly live in South Africa.

The project’s funders include the Global Environment Facility and the UK government. It is also receiving assistance from Credit Suisse Group AG and DLA Piper LLP