S. Africa may re-consider regulated rhino horn trade in future

May 8, 2016
Rhino horn is composed mainly of keratin, the same component as in human nails, but it is sold in powdered form as a supposed cure for cancer and other diseases in Vietnam and China

South Africa does not rule out a future call for regulated international trade in rhino horn trade, despite its decision not to push for legalisation at an upcoming CITES conference, a cabinet minister said Sunday.

South Africa has "no immediate intention to trade in rhino horn," but is "maintaining the option to reconsider regulated legal in rhino horn" when key requirements are met, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told reporters.

Some campaigners are calling for the lifting of the ban and had hoped South Africa would make a proposal to that effect at the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference in Johannesburg in September.

But South Africa says it will only make such a call when its key conditions—including clear trading models with targeted markets - have been met.

"One thing we are very careful about is that we need to have a successful proposition for South Africa that goes through, that's not hampered by any doubt... but now there are a lot of uncertainties," Molewa said.

The minister also revealed that the numbers of South African rhino slaughtered by poachers so far this year has dropped to 363 compared with 404 for the same period last year.

The killing of rhinos is driven by demand for their horns in countries such as China and Vietnam where they are prized for their purported medicinal purposes.

South African which is home to some 20,000 rhino, or 80 percent of the global population, has suffered the brunt of poaching.

Out of the total 1,338 rhino poached in Africa last year, only 163 were killed outside South Africa.

Explore further: 1,175 rhinos killed by poachers in S.Africa last year: official

Related Stories

South Africa mulls legal rhino horn trade

February 28, 2013

South Africa is exploring the legal trade of rhino horn to counter a poaching bloodbath that has surged despite tighter security controls, the environment minister said Thursday.

South Africa weighs legal rhino horn trade

February 10, 2015

South Africa has appointed a panel of experts to examine the viability of a legal rhino horn trade, the environmental affairs ministry said Tuesday as poaching of the species spiked to record levels.

Recommended for you

Fossils may be earliest known multicellular life: study

April 24, 2017

Fossils accidentally discovered in South Africa are probably the oldest fungi ever found by a margin of 1.2 billion years, rewriting the evolutionary story of these organisms which are neither flora nor fauna, researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.