Calls to legalise rhino horn trade

2014-04-02 14:32

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Cape Town – New research into rhino poaching suggest that legalising the trade of rhino horns will in part lead to a decline in the unnecessary deaths of rhino in South Africa

We as South Africans should think about legalising the trade of rhino horns says Michael Murphree, a researcher at the North West University.

Murphree argues that there are various advantages of legalising the rhino horn trade.

South Africa trading in white rhino horn is a massive opportunity says Murphree. “When a rhino is dehorned in a responsible manner, it grows back to its original length within two years.”

Communities that have land opportunities should look into farming rhino for their horns. He argues that there is no agriculture that can produce the same yield per hectare as to what rhino farming can.

To substantiate this Murphree’s research looks at a farm in the North West that farms 700 rhinos on 5000ha of land. According to his research each rhino takes 10ha of land for grazing purposes.

Currently Murphree states that rhino horn costs between R200 000 to R300 000 per kilo and some horns can weigh up to 5kg.

Bettie Swart from the North West Department of Economic development, Environmental Affairs, Conservation and Tourism notes that the guideline to rearing rhino is 200ha per rhino cow and her calf.

Three rhino have the potential to yield more than R1m per year.

Parks that are owned privately are poached less than parks owned by government or reserves says Murphree. This is mainly due to the fact that because these parks are smaller they are more effectively protected.

Murphree argues that SanParks should loan Rhino to communities or private farms so they can legally rear rhino and trade the horns.

SanParks have the ability to also provide technical and scientific assistance to farmers.

In Namibia communities have been able to use animals to create funds that have been used for social projects such as churches and schools.

Rhino trading has been banned since the 1970s and as such the ban has only contributed to illegal poaching.

The ban according to Murphree has not change the incessant need for the rhino horn.

The horns are mainly used in Chinese medicine for various ailments, one in particular is the use of Rhino horn as a sexual stimulant, though there is no scientific proof that the horn acts as a stimulant.
Read more on:    sanparks  |  north west  |  animals  |  rhino poaching

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