Rhino: Clampdown on trophy horns
Skukuza - Professional hunters will only be allowed to hunt and export a single rhino horn for trophy purposes once a year, the water and environmental affairs department has announced.
Department spokesperson Albi Modise said the aim was to reduce the abuse of hunting permits, which possibly fuels the illegal trade in rhino horns.
“The management of hunting of rhinoceros has been strengthened.
"Therefore, a person may only hunt and export one rhino horn as a trophy. We are doing this in order to be able to control hunting processes,” Modise told African Eye News Service.
He said rhino horn trophies could not be replaced with replicas as hunters expected to take home the real thing.
“If a hunter comes into the country in order to hunt a rhino, they expect to go back home carrying an original trophy,” said Modise.
Modise said hunters had to apply formally for hunting permits.
He said it was important for conservation authorities to ensure that the hunter’s usual country of residence had adequate legislation that complies with Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora export permit.
“We believe that the countries where the horns are taken will work with us to ensure that the horns are still safe and used for what they have been exported for,"Modise added.
He said the Vietnamese government was expected to help South Africa investigate if rhino horns taken to that country were still in the hands of legitimate hunters.
There's a huge market for illegal rhino horns in East Asian countries like Vietnam.
Minister Edna Molewa has also urged private landowners who are in possession of rhino horn stockpiles to register them.
Molewa, who was speaking at a news conference at the Kruger National Park in Skukuza, said it was a legal requirement to register horns with provincial conservation authorities.
“The Biodiversity Act of 2004 requires that everyone who is in possession of a horns stockpile should have a permit. It is essential to know who are in possession of the horns so that it will help us fight poaching,” said Molewa.
She said other countries in the world have removed horns that were kept in museums and other public places in order to prevent the horns from being stolen.
“Everyone in the world is now using a replica of a rhino horn in order to quell the scourge of [illegal rhino horn trade],” said Molewa.
She announced that about 617 rhino would be poached by the end of this year if the current SANParks anti-poaching strategy is not properly implemented.
She said this year alone rhino poaching has resulted in the death of 159 rhino.
“The Kruger National Park continues to bear the brunt of these losses, with the rhino poached in the park having reached a staggering total of 95,” said Molewa.