By Chris Spillane, Antony Sguazzin
South Africa should consider lifting a domestic ban on trade in rhinoceros horns, authorizing commercial farming and trading the horn on the Johannesburg bourse, a Department of Environmental Affairs report showed.
The steps were proposed as part of an effort to halt poaching that is threatening eventual extinction for the animals. At least 514 out of a national population, that stood at 20,711 in 2010, have been poached this year, the department said in the report, which was released by e-mail today. Most of rest of the global population is spread across sub-Saharan Africa with the next biggest concentration being in Namibia.
“Some viewed the lifting of the ban on trade in rhino horn as the panacea that would end poaching and save the rhino from otherwise inevitable extinction,” the department said, referring to consultation on the measures. “This view was supported by market theorists who argued that in a market where rhino horn could be traded freely, market forces would automatically drive horn prices down, obviating the need for syndicates to face risks associated with poaching.”
A similar argument has been mounted about elephant ivory with Southern African nations including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana advocating legal trade in the product while Kenya and other countries oppose it. While elephants have to be killed to extract their ivory rhino horns can be removed without harming the animals.
South Africa should “consider opening a rhino horn trading bourse possibly linked to the JSE,” the department said, referring to Africa’s biggest stock and bond markets. More....