Rhino Horn Trade in South Africa
In early February, the Government of South Africa put forth a proposal to allow domestic trade in “rhino horn, parts, products or derivatives.” Following an invitation for comment, the International Rhino Foundation, along with many international and local conservation organizations, submitted formal objections to the proposal. Yesterday, South Africa’s top court dismissed an appeal by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to continue the current moratorium against trade, essentially opening up the sale of rhino horn within South Africa.
The IRF applauds all rhinoceros range states’ (countries in which rhinos exist in the wild) efforts to manage their own natural resources, which includes maintaining healthy rhino populations as well as raising money for the important work of protecting and conserving these assets. Wildlife-based land use in Africa requires substantial funding to meet associated conservation costs. There is an urgent need to explore many economic options to protect endangered species, while also recognizing that the challenges associated with land-use and wildlife conservation issues are real and must be seriously considered.