S.Africa to legalise rhino horn trade against rising resistance - CNBC Africa

S.Africa to legalise rhino horn trade against rising resistance

Southern Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

The number of rhinoceros now estimated to be 28,000 in the wild from 500,000 at the beginning of the 20th century. PHOTO: Getty Images

“At the moment it is illegal to trade rhino products but the South African cabinet has indicated that it wants to change the legislation as an effort to curb the poaching spirit,” the managing director of Africa Finest Colin Bell told CNBC Africa.

He also added that the value placed on rhino trophies has been influencing both the conservation and poaching.

(READ MORE: The truth behind rhino horn smuggling in South Africa)    

“The value placed on rhino from 1993 has played a key role in the preservation of this endangered species but it is the same value that has seen the number depleting in the last five years”.

South Africa has lost over 2,600 rhinos since the start of the poaching epidemic in 2008 with a kilogram of rhino horn estimated to cost about 65,000 US dollars.

In 2013 over 1,000 rhino are reported to have been killed in pursuit of horns.

A rhino trade conference held in Johannesburg recently resolved to act against any proposals to legalise rhino horn trade.

Organisations who are fighting against rhino horn trade said the country will get little support should it go ahead with its proposal in the forthcoming Cites’ 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17), to be held in Durban in 2016.

Also commenting on the rhino trade issue is environmental economist, Michael T Sas Rolfes saying that hunting trophy was facing increased opposition.

“Rhino horn hunting is increasingly becoming unpopular ethically especially in the West with animal groups becoming vocal at a time when the domestic regime is considering to legalise the rhino horn hunting,” he said.

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The number of rhinoceros is increasing decreasing and is now estimated to be around 28,000 in the wild from 500,000 at the beginning of the 20th century.

Benson Okita, a researcher with the Kenyan Wildlife Service recently told a conference in South Africa that rhinos would be extinct by 2020 if efforts to curb the illegal trade is not escalated. 

BY TRUST MATSILELE

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