Rhino: DA wants disaster money

2013-04-21 17:36
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Johannesburg - Rhino poaching should be declared a national disaster, the DA said on Sunday.

This would enable access to disaster management funds to finance anti-poaching initiatives while discussions on rhino horn trade continued, Democratic Alliance MP Anthony Benadie said in a statement.

"It is clear that the current approach by the South African government in response to the onslaught on our rhino has been left wanting and that other avenues of protecting the species from extinction must be intensely explored," he said.

The DA believed the framework for a discussion about the legalisation of rhino horn trade should be officially tabled in the public domain.

Commercial trade was banned in the 1970s.

The environmental affairs department said on Thursday that 232 rhino had been killed in South Africa this year - 167 of them in the Kruger National Park.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said the handing down of stiffer sentences to poachers and the seizure of assets of poaching accused should serve as a message to potential poachers that South Africa would do everything possible to protect the rhino population.

Benadie said the DA supported rhino farmer John Hume's reasons for the legalisation of trade in rhino horn as it would protect consumers from "unethical suppliers, poverty alleviation and making poaching syndicates obsolete through controlled trade.

"A total ban on rhino horn trade will eventually lead to the complete extinction of the species.

"A regulated and controlled trade would supply demand and dismantle poaching syndicates through open market pressures," he said.

"It would also make a considerable contribution to poverty alleviation and open the door for communities to become involved in rhino custodianship and conservation, especially emerging farmers."

Benadie said rhino horn was a renewable resource and that effective management and harvesting procedures would ensure a regular supply to the markets.

It would also create a sustainable income for South Africa and would preserve rhino.

- SAPA
Read more on:    edna molewa  |  rhino poaching
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