News / Africa

    South Africa Mulls Legalized Rhino-Horn 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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora