SA, Vietnam set to sign rhino deal

2012-08-21 07:50

Johannesburg -South Africa and Vietnam are set to sign a landmark deal to help stem rhino poaching and the illicit trade in rhino horns, activists and a government official said on Monday.

Illegal hunting of the rhino has spiked in recent years as demand surged in east Asia, especially Vietnam, where the horn is believed to have a miracle medicinal value.

Global wildlife activists have been pushing Vietnam to admit the problem of illegal rhino trade in the country and to tackle the crisis.

International wildlife monitoring network TRAFFIC said a memorandum of understanding between South Africa - home of the largest rhino population in the world - and Vietnam, the biggest consumer market, will soon be penned.

"I think the heat is clearly on Vietnam. I think we are going to see some changes. The good news today is that the MOU with South Africa is about to be signed," TRAFFIC's head of rhino and elephants project, Tom Milliken told reporters.


Mavuso Msimang, a rhino issues manager with South Africa's department of environmental affairs also spoke of the collaboration between his country and Vietnam on "significant issues of bio-diversity management" in a bid to curb the export of rhino horns to Vietnam.

The deal is a partly a result of heavy lobbying by the activists.

The network did not give details of the MOU, but it is believed to centre on law enforcement.

Vietnam's deputy foreign affairs minister Le Loung Minh was last week in South Africa where he held talks over illegal wildlife hunting, trade and trafficking with his counterpart Ebrahim Ebrahim.

Almost 300 rhino have been poached across South Africa since the start of the year, after 448 were killed last year. Their horns are suspected to have been smuggled out to Vietnam.

South Africa is home to about three quarters of Africa's 20 000 or so white rhino and 4 800 critically endangered black rhino.

"The bottom line is that we are not close to ending this crisis yet, we are probably going to get record numbers this year," said Milliken at the launch of TRAFFIC's latest report.

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-08-21 08:03

    Well done, all concerned!

      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-21 08:11

      I have been told, if you bury one of these people on your property. A house will grow. Is this true

      amanda.vandenberg.758 - 2012-08-21 09:02

      Great news, hope it will be effective, unfortunate part is to get agreement implemented, nothing has been a deterrent ,to stop poaching. To Stephen, when are we going hunting, would love a new house !

      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-21 09:28

      Full of new furniture nogall

  • sebastian.lewis.547 - 2012-08-21 08:13

    Brilliant news, now we just have to sign deals with a couple dozen other countries to leave our oceans, parks and other natural resources alone and we are set!!

  • delish7564 - 2012-08-21 08:15

    Let's hope they adhere to it then before it's too late, before they decimate the whole population!!!!

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-21 09:26

    Thank Heavens, some good news for a change, What is Africa without it's horn? One small step, in a giant battle.

  • robert.m.farlane - 2012-08-21 09:40

    Too little, too late.

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-08-21 11:48

    Excellent news! Well done! Let's make sure there's follow-through and that it doesn't fizzle out over time.

  • janine.peck.3 - 2012-08-21 13:08

    Another step in the right direction!

  • gaelen.deklerk - 2012-08-21 14:47

    I'm happy there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but we don't know what the deal is exactly. It's probably something like 100 horns to be exported legally a year, or something. Which is better than 500, but still sad.

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