News / Africa

South Africa Mulls Legalized Rhino-Horn Trade

South Africa Studying Proposal to Legalize Rhino Tradei
X
Brian Padden
July 23, 2012
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid