With the domestic trade ban lifted our concern for diminishing wild rhino populations is heightened.
The South African Constitutional Court has ruled to reverse the government’s (Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) ban on the trade and domestic sales of rhino horn. While this decision in isolation does not allow the trade in rhino horn beyond the borders of South Africa, it could become very significant with regards to proposed draft regulations allowing ‘foreigners’ to export a maximum of two horns for ‘personal purposes’ – a proposal made by the South Government earlier this year.
Our concern is around the measures in place, or lack thereof, to effectively manage such a trade and the potential, if not probability of opening channels to launder illegal rhino horn.
South Africa is home to 70% of the world’s rhino population and Helping Rhinos is not alone in believing that the opportunity for rhino ‘farmers’ to supply the domestic market will not assuage the poaching crisis that we are currently experiencing but exacerbate it.
The efficacy of rhino horn is not proven so practically, has no medicinal value. By freeing the flow of rhino horn to the Far Eastern market, South Africa is perpetuating the myth that the rhino and rhino horn has value beyond its iconic status and one of the world’s most wonderful creatures to be seen, naturally, in the wild. This decision does not support conservation efforts to eliminate demand for rhino horn, it maintains and increases that demand.