Wildlife conservationists around the world heaved a collective sigh of relief upon hearing South Africa’s announcement that it will not put forth a rhino horn trade proposal at the upcoming Conference of the Parties to CITES.
The South African government stated on April 21 that its Committee of Inquiry on the feasibility of trading in rhino horns “recommends that the current mode of keeping the country’s stock levels be kept as opposed to the trading in rhino horns. The country’s strategic approach entails security; community empowerment; biological management; responsive legislative provisions that are effectively implemented and enforced; and demand management.”
Annamiticus welcomes this news as we have worked tirelessly with our international colleagues and partners to prevent the disaster that would have erupted across all rhino range states if a legal rhino horn trade had become a reality. The misinformation propagated by the pro-trade lobby has been a harmful and unnecessary distraction and we are pleased that the global community can now move forward with protecting all five rhino species throughout their range states in Africa and Asia.
However, South Africa’s decision to continue hoarding its rhino horn stockpile rather than disposing of it, and its choice of the phrase “demand management” rather than “demand reduction” are issues that will remain under scrutiny.