Citizen
National 10.4.2014 07.00 am

Even 60 000 legal horns ‘too much’

FILE PIC: A male Rhino stands after being darted in order to be tagged and have DNA samples collected. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark
It would be impossible for South Africa to supply the demand of the Asians markets – 60 000 horns a year for China alone – if it were to legally dispose of its stockpile and harvest the horns of living rhino.

This was the message from several high-profile speakers at a conference about legalising the trade in Pretoria.

More realistically, experts agreed, would be stricter law enforcement, effective prosecution, and harsher penalties for poachers and crime syndicates.

International conservation associations, diplomats and NGOs from the United Kingdom, Kenya, the US, Mexico, Vietnam and South Africa gathered for the Outraged Citizens Against Poaching conference, to assess the risks of rhino horn trade. This comes in anticipation of government’s proposal to legalise the trade in 2016.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) were auspicious in its absence – a point of contention, especially soon after its failure to attend the recent pi-votal London conference on illegal wildlife trade.

Also absent during the debate, were pro-traders.

A strong focus fell on the role of corruption, collusion and the leniency in law enforcement – both locally and internationally – with a call made for increased pressure on especially Mozambique to address the lack of arrests and prosecution of poachers and syndicates.

Lax law enforcement in Vietnam makes it a poor trading partner, said Duong Viet Hong, a Vietnamese conservationist. This comes amid speculation that Vietnam will be SA’s partner in its trade proposal. Great strides had been made in Vietnam to combat the illegal trade, including a ban on legal trophy imports and special training of prosecutors. “Now is the wrong time to be talking about legalising it,” she said.

Kenyan conservation expert Paula Kahumbu stressed it has been proven that legal trade only provides an avenue for laundering funds generated through the parallel illicit trade.

The DEA did not respond to questions.

– CNS.

You might also like

Window for removal of Kruger Rhinos passed

Rhino at the Kruger National Park will not be moved this year, SA National Parks said on Saturday. ... more ...

Rhino sold for R81 million

SA National Parks (SANParks) has made over R80 million rand following the sale of 354 rhino since 2010, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa revealed this week.... more ...

Orphaned baby rhino hacked to death at ‘safe haven’

Staff members at Care for Wild Africa remain in shock after an orphaned baby rhino was found hacked to death at the Mpumalanga safe haven.... more ...

WWF welcomes rhino evacuation

WWF South Africa on Tuesday welcomed the announcement that rhino along the eastern boundary of the Kruger National Park would be moved to so-called strongholds to protect them from poachers.... more ...

Rhino population ‘stable’ – Molewa

A census of the white rhino population in Kruger National Park during 2013 has put the number at between 8 400 and 9 600.... more ...

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Mandatory field

Comment icon

Let's discuss this article

Total one comment
Terry Bengis2014-04-12 14:11:59
There has to be a reason that neither the pro traders or Government attended thisconference, just how much weight and value can be placed on whatever resolution was taken when more than half of those affected were not present?
Find this inappropriate? Report it