News / Africa

South Africa Mulls Legalized Rhino-Horn Trade

South Africa Studying Proposal to Legalize Rhino Tradei
X
Brian Padden
July 23, 2012 8:26 PM
Some South African conservationists and owners of wildlife reserves are advocating for the legalization of the rhino horn trade, which is currently banned by an international treaty. VOA's Brian Padden reports the proposed plan would entail selling only horns from rhinos that died of natural causes and using the profits to fund anti-poaching efforts.

South Africa Studying Proposal to Legalize Rhino Trade

Brian Padden
JOHANNESBURG — Some South African conservationists and wildlife-reserve owners are advocating legalization of the rhino horn trade, which is currently banned by international treaty. The proposed plan would entail selling horns only from rhinos that died of natural causes and that use profits to fund anti-poaching efforts.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, a record 448 rhinos were poached in 2011, and more than half of that number have already been killed illegally so far this year.

Pelham Jones, chairman of South Africa’s Private Rhino Owners Association, says the South African government does not have adequate resources to stop poachers from killing the endangered species for its horns.

“We can double, we can triple our security measures, [but] we cannot sustain the level of protection of our rhino, especially not when one looks at the value that rhino horns are being sold for in the Far East," said Jones, referring to some traditional Asian medical philosophies that put a premium on rhino horns.

The best way to save the rhino, his group says, is to lift the ban on the rhino horn trade.

“We are not talking of going out and killing rhinos for their horns — South Africa has over 25 tons of horns in stockpiles," he said. "These are horns from animals that died of natural causes, horns that broke off during relocation."

DNA testing, he explains, could be used to ascertain whether a given horn was poached or legally acquired. Legalizing the trade would not only reduce market value (and thus the incentive to poach), but taxes and fees levied from legal transactions could be used to fund wildlife security and conservation measures.

Some advocates skeptical

While South African government officials have commissioned a study on legalizing the rhino trade, Jo Shaw of the wildlife trade-monitoring organization TRAFFIC remains skeptical.

“We need to know exactly how horn is going to be sold. We need to know who it is going to be sold to," she said. "We need to be clear on the mechanisms that will be put into place to stop horns from illegally killed rhinos entering the legal trade.”

Despite the increase in rhino poaching, she adds, the ban is working in the sense that the worldwide rhino population remains steady at about 20,000 animals. And while demand for rhino horns is currently rising in China, Vietnam and Thailand, other Asian countries have been successfully curbing the illegal trade.

“We do know that, in the past, markets for rhino horns have grown and then been reduced elsewhere," said Shaw. "So, historically, Japan, Taiwan, [and] Korea were all major users of rhino horn. Those countries all have domestic bans in place and the demand is no longer coming from those regions.”

If legalizing the rhino trade to save the rhinos may sound too good to be true, she says, it most likely is.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid