According to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, the time has come to sell rhino horn.
Minister Edna Molewa bowing to the pressure of rhino farmers and keepers of state stockpiles has said there had been a moratorium on rhino horn sales since 2009 and it's no longer needed
According to Don Pinnock, former editor of Getaway magazine in Cape Town, writing for the Independent Online (IOL) the backstory to the minister’s announcement is that last year the moratorium was challenged by private sector rhino breeders who won on a technicality.
Molewa, took the result on appeal to the Constitutional Court, but fearing she would lose the minister drafted new regulations to permit legal internal trade in rhino horn and setting out conditions favorable for its export.
If passed, each person will be able to buy, own, sell or export two rhino horns. The public has 30 days from the date of the gazette to make representations or objections.
Speaking after the minister, DEA biodiversity director Thea Carroll made a confusing distinction between commercial trade and trade for personal purposes. “What we are seeking to regulate the proposed regulation is traded for personal purposes.
We have made a distinction between commercial and non-commercial trade. And we will ask the importing country for legal assurance that the horn will not be used for commercial purposes”.
Environmentalist Ian Michler said “there is no realistic way of ensuring that the two horns per person do not end up being traded. The followup regarding trophy horns taken to other countries has been pathetic… I don’t think any country, including the US, has ever systematically followed up on trophy hunters who have exported legally-hunted horn out of South Africa to check that they still have them and have not sold on them. We should demand that the Minister present evidence of this followup and not just say that will happen.”
The DEA failed to answer pertinent questions. These are:
Wildlife Planet knows that once the ban is lifted poachers looking to supply the Chinese Traditional Medicine market will descend on South Africa like vultures. There is simply no way South Africa will be able to control their 'Two horn limit' so look for the South African Rhino to be butchered once again in record numbers.
We anticipate the weak kneed CITES will give into South Africa's demands to lift the ban as long as South Africa fills the CITES coffers.