According to Julius Kleynhans, AfriForum’s Head of Environmental Affairs, it would be wise to implement the plan as a pilot project. ‘Rhino horn trade can contribute to conservation and economic growth.
AfriForum strongly supports the proposal, but only if trading is limited to the horns of animals that have died of natural causes,’ Kleynhans said.
‘By selling rhino horn legally it may result in a flooding of the market with the product, which could result in a dramatic drop in price. As a result of the financial contribution from this source of income, anti-poaching efforts might increase, and with price fluctuations and the increase in risk, illegal trading might become non-feasible.’
According to reports the price of rhino horn would be controlled by a central selling organisation, with sales being held at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg four times a year. ‘Prices must be much lower than the black market value of rhino horn to channel demand to South Africa’s legal trading system,’ Kleynhans said.
Former conservation planning chief at Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, Roger Porter, indicated that the plan should be implemented for five years to assess its impact. He said the horns would be sold in the same way diamonds were sold by the De Beers Corporation.
More than 270 rhino have been killed for their horns so far this year. Although it has no medicinal value whatsoever, rhino horn is used for traditional medicine, mainly in Asia.