In­ter­na­tional trade in rhino horn re­mains pro­hib­ited, says the DEA

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES & NEWS -

THE South African govern­ment strongly de­nied re­ports yes­ter­day that it had ap­proved in­ter­na­tional trade in rhino horns.

“The com­mer­cial in­ter­na­tional trade in rhino horn is, and re­mains, pro­hib­ited in terms of all in­ter­na­tional pro­to­cols that South Africa is party to, par­tic­u­larly the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in Species of Fauna and Flora (Cites),” said the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs (DEA).

This came af­ter a South African pri­vate game rancher used so­cial web­sites to ad­ver­tise an on­line auc­tion of rhino horns, spark­ing con­cern that this could un­der­mine the 40-year-old in­ter­na­tional ban on rhino horn trad­ing.

“The DEA would like to em­pha­sise that in­ter­na­tional trade in rhino horns would be il­le­gal in terms of do­mes­tic reg­u­la­tions and South Africa’s in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions,” said DEA spokesper­son Albi Modise.

South African rhino breeder John Hume is plan­ning to sell part of his mas­sive stock­pile of rhino horns in a global on­line auc­tion sched­uled for Au­gust 21.

Hume won a se­ries of court bat­tles ear­lier this year to over­turn the eight-year-old mora­to­rium on the do­mes­tic sale of rhino horns.

Al­though a Con­sti­tu­tional Court or­der on April 5 this year set aside the mora­to­rium on the do­mes­tic trade in rhino horns, it is sub­ject to the is­su­ing of the rel­e­vant per­mits in terms of the rel­e­vant laws, reg­u­la­tions and ap­pli­ca­ble pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion in or­der to be able to trade na­tion­ally, ac­cord­ing to Modise.

“The planned sale of rhino horn by pri­vate rhino own­ers re­lates to do­mes­tic trade only,” Modise said.

“The DEA can con­firm that it has re­ceived an ap­pli­ca­tion to sell rhino horn by means of an on­line rhino auc­tion from a pri­vate owner and is in the process of eval­u­at­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion in line with the pro­vi­sions of the Threat­ened or Pro­tected Species Reg­u­la­tions,” Modise said.

“In terms of the auc­tion, it should be noted that na­tional reg­u­la­tions and leg­is­la­tion with re­gard to the do­mes­tic com­mer­cial trade in rhino horn will have to be com­plied with.

“This means that the buy­ers and the seller would have to abide by all laws ap­pli­ca­ble within the borders of South Africa,” Modise added.

The South African govern­ment and the DEA re­mained com­mit­ted to a well-reg­u­lated process im­ple­ment­ing its do­mes­tic leg­is­la­tion, as well as all the Cites pro­vi­sions, to man­age the trade in en­dan­gered species, such as rhino, in a man­ner that is not detri­men­tal to the sur­vival of the species in the wild, Modise noted.

South Africa, home to about 90 per­cent of the world’s rhino pop­u­la­tion, bears the brunt of rhino poach­ing, hav­ing lost 1 175 rhi­nos to poach­ing in 2015.

The govern­ment in­tro­duced the mora­to­rium on rhino horn trade eight years ago to curb rhino poach­ing.

But pri­vate ranch­ers say that the mora­to­rium has failed to stop the scourge, and there­fore should be lifted.


Rhino have been poached for their horns and thou­sands of an­i­mals have been killed in the last 10 years.

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