South Africa and Vietnam have agreed to exchange the names of registered hunters in a bid to stop rhino poachers who obtain hunting permits under false pretences, a spokesman said Monday.
Authorities are targeting these hunters who take advantage of laws allowing them to export the rhino horn as a hunting trophy to trade it illegally, mostly on the Asian black market, AFP reported.
"As part of the cooperation between the two countries, Vietnam is going to provide us with a list of accredited trophy hunters," Peter Mbelengwa, a South African government spokesman, was quoted by the newswire as saying.
South Africa, home to more than 20,000 rhinos, or about 90 percent of all rhinos in Africa, lost 668 of them to poachers last year. Over 270 rhinos have been killed illegally in South Africa since the start of the year for their horns.
South Africa's deputy environment minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi and her Vietnamese counterpart Ha Cong Tuan on Monday signed an "action plan" to counter the surge in rhino poaching.
"We will be able to verify the legitimacy of the hunters," Mbelengwa told AFP.
Records of rhino hunting permits show Asians are the largest group of applicants, AFP said.
Thirteen out of 41 permits granted in KwaZulu-Natal province from 2009 to 2011 went to Vietnamese, it added.
The countries' cooperation plan includes setting up a gene bank and DNA analysis training to track confiscated horns. More....