IFAW: SA govt lobbying to legalise rhino horn trade

2014-04-09 05:30
 (File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - In the global effort to crack down on rhino poaching, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) believes that the South African government can lead the way as a global player - or be a lonely outlier.

The director of the IFAW, Jason Bell, said that the government has been actively lobbying to gain support to legalise the trade in rhino horn.

The IFAW argues that legalising the rhino horn trade in order to reduce illegal poaching, is a tenuous step that may, or may not work.

Bell argues that decisions on the rhino horn trade should be made on scientific evidence only.

Conservationists from all over the world have gathered in Pretoria to discuss the risks of rhino horn trading.

At the International Conference to Assess the Risk of Rhino Horn Trade, the IFAW presented its research on the economic trade of rhino horns in endangered species. Bell argued that there are real risks when a government regulates the trade and this could drive an increase in poaching.

Deciding to legalise the rhino horn trade does not only bring up economic questions but there are political and ethical considerations.

By 14 March this year, 172 rhino had been poached in South Africa. In 2013 the total was 1 004.

Bell believes that international relations will also be damaged. Legalising the trade could potentially alienate states that are entirely against the trade of rhino horns.

The IFAW is encouraging the South Africa government to stand together with the international community in placing pressure on Asian countries where the demand for rhino horn, elephant ivory and other wildlife is high.


Michael Murphree, a researcher at the North West University, argues that there are various advantages of legalising the rhino horn trade.

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

To substantiate this, Murphree’s research looks at a farm in the North West that farms 700 rhino on 5 000ha 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.

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

Follow Vernon Pillay on Twitter
Read more on:    ifaw  |  pretoria  |  conservation  |  animals  |  rhino poaching

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.