Activists outraged over decision to lift ban on rhino horn trade

2015-11-26 18:12
A rhino that has since been killed by poachers at Zululand Rhino Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.

A rhino that has since been killed by poachers at Zululand Rhino Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Durban – Activists for Animals Africa (AAA) has expressed outrage over the High Court in Pretoria's decision to lift the ban on the domestic rhino horn trade.

News24 reported earlier that a full bench of the High Court overturned government's moratorium on rhino horn trading because there was not enough public consultation.

Judges Francis Legodi, Vivian Tlhapi and Myron Dewrance granted an order to rhino breeders John Hume and Johan Krüger to set aside the moratorium, which came into effect early in 2009, because of "substantial non-compliance" with the consultative and participatory process by members of the public contemplated by the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act.

On Thursday, AAA said in a statement that the decision was shocking, ill-informed and undermined the global efforts to stop the trade in endangered species.

"Legalising trade does not diminish the threat against rhino populations, there will always be a black market," said AAA spokesperson Melissa Weavind.

No local buyers or manufacturers

"There will always be a price on the horn of a wild rhino as the Asian countries may believe that the properties of a fresh kill are substantially more powerful than those of stored rhino horn which in their eyes could have a sell-by date."

She questioned the legalisation of the sale of rhino horn, and said there were no local buyers or manufacturers of ground rhino horn powder for medicinal use.

"When the Asian or other buyers come to South Africa to buy their rhino horn, will they be allowed to transport it out of the country legally?

"Will they be allowed to enter another country with it, as right now commercial international trade in rhino horn is still prohibited in terms of the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)?" Weavind asked.

Weavind also questioned who Hume and Kruger were selling their rhino horn to.

"We are pleased to see that the department of environmental affairs is going to appeal this decision and we anxiously await the outcome of this… We have not only let down our rhino here in South Africa but we have let down an entire global effort to stop trade in endangered species."

Read more on:    conservation  |  rhino poaching

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