The South African Government today stated that they will not bid to lift the global ban on trade in rhino horn at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of the Parties this September.
Many conservationists had speculated that South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) would apply to CITES to legalise rhino horn trade, however DEA representative Jeff Radebe told a media briefing on Thursday 21st April "The recommendations (of the Committee of Inquiry) endorse South Africa's integrated strategic management approach to resolving the poaching of rhino and illegal trade in rhino. The committee recommends that the current mode of keeping the country’s stock levels be kept as opposed to the trading in rhino horns."
Rhino horn is made up of keratin, the same substance as human hair and fingernail, however it is widely believed in Traditional Asian Medicine that it provides healing qualities for diseases such as cancer to the common cold and even a hangover. Scientific tests have proved that rhino horn has no medicinal value.
At Helping Rhinos, we believe that a legal trade in rhino horn would not resolve the current poaching crisis, and is more likely to make matters worse. We therefore welcome this decision by the South African Government.
The critical next step is for conservationists and organisations working to protect the world's remaining rhinos to pull together, maximise resources and bring an end to the unnecessary loss rhino lives - currently averaging at more than three per day.
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