Art. # 228
SOUTH AFRICA PROPOSE RHINO HORN TRADE TO CITES
Pro and contra to legalize rhino horn trade
Text by Stefan Rust
Photos by Birgit Leicher
(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)
The important role of rhino in maintaining and rehabilitating grassland is doubtless. Because many birds depend on this type of habitat, such as Namibia’s bird of the year 2014, the Kori Bustard, BirdsConTour is involved in rhino conservation via its Anti Poaching Crusade project.
In 2013 South Africa arrested about 160 people that have been involved in rhino crime and about 575 rhino have been killed for their horns.
This escalation in rhino poaching exposes the insufficient rhino protection measures.
In response, South Africa intends to present a proposal to introduce legalized international trade of rhino horn to CITES (Conservation of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) at the 17th Conference of the Parties in 2016, taking place in South Africa.
Some debate that by lifting the ban on rhino trade will end rhino poaching, resulting in the rescue of the endangered rhino.
Market theorists support this opinion by adding that a free trade would force down the prices and therefore reduce the need for poaching.
The opposition argues that there is no proof that indicates a possible price decrease. Instead it is more likely that the demand, once legalized, will increase.
According to experts, the differentiation between legal and illegal rhino horn is almost impossible.