By Idéle Esterhuizen
Cabinet has approved the development and submission of a proposal by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to the seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), to lift the ban on international rhino horn trade and introduce it in a regulated format, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Wednesday.
The conference is set to take place in South Africa in 2016.
The Minister noted that discussions relating to regulated trade in rhino horn as an integral part of South Africa’s long-term conservation strategy for rhinos were initiated at the sixteenth COP to Cites this year.
“The ongoing illegal killing of rhino has highlighted the need to take action in terms of addressing demand for rhino horn.
“The establishment of a well-regulated international trade could assist in this regard, if implemented in conjunction with all the other interventions to curb rhino poaching,” Molewa said.
She said the DEA would work in partnership with stakeholders and experts to ensure a feasible model for trade was proposed at the next COP.
“Our appeal is that this should not be viewed in isolation from all our endeavours to save our rhinos,” the Minister highlighted. More....