South Africa said on Monday it was moving forward with draft regulations for an internal trade in rhino horn, despite concerns from critics that a legal market would encourage rhino poaching.
Anyone owning a rhino horn will need a permit under national rules being prepared, and South Africa continues to recognize a ban on international trade in horn imposed in 1977, Minister Edna Molewa said. of Environmental Affairs.
Earlier this year, South Africa’s Constitutional Court rejected a government call to uphold a 2009 ban on the domestic trade in rhino horn, which has been poached in record numbers over the past decade. A rhino breeder in South Africa, home to most of the world’s rhinos, is planning an online horn auction next month.
Rhino herders say a regulated trade would reduce poaching. Some international conservation groups disagree, saying it will only encourage traffickers to kill rhinos and try to sell their horns on the legal market.
Under the draft regulations, rhino horns can be exported from South Africa for “non-commercial purposes, such as personal use, hunting trophies, research or education and training,” he said. said Molewa.
The exported horns must be subjected to DNA tests and contain an electronic chip and a serial number, according to the minister. Information on the owner of an exported horn, as well as the horn itself, must be recorded in a national database, and a permit from a United Nations Wildlife Group, the Convention on International Trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna will also be compulsory.
Molewa also said that 529 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa during the first half of this year, down 13 from the same period in 2016. South Africa has nearly 20,000 rhinos, by some estimates.
Rhino poaching in Kruger National Park, the country’s largest reserve, has declined dramatically due to increased security and other measures, but the number of rhinos killed in other parks has increased as the poachers were moving elsewhere, according to South African officials.
Rhino poaching decreases slightly in South Africa
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