Wildlife ranchers in South Africa call for controlled trade of rhino horn

by WRSA

An association of 1,500 private landowners with an interest in wildlife in South Africa today called for controlled legal trade in rhino horns as a way to help address the country's rhino poaching crisis.

The notion of legalizing trade in rhino horn is likely to be as controversial as calls to legalize and control the trade in elephant ivory. Proponents of opening formal trade argue that it allows for more transparency and profits that can be used for conservation. Opponents say that legalizing trade serves only to stimulate the market for such products.

Wildlife Ranching South Africa(WRSA) "as sole representative of private landowners with an interest in wildlife, condemns in the strongest possible terms the barbaric and ruthless killing of rhinos in order to promote the illegal trade in rhino horn," the organization said in a news statement.

According to the news release:

"Over 180 rhino have been killed in the past 8 months alone in South Africa. This not only threatens the conservation of the species but also our African heritage and the safety and livelihood of many thousands of game farmers.

"WRSA believes the situation is now out of control and that urgent new initiatives will need to be taken to deal with the escalating crisis."

WRSA opposed to poisoning rhino horns

Commenting on the recently reported incident in Thailand in the "Bangkok Star "on August 18, in which a man was allegedly poisoned by contaminated rhino horn as a result of a plan by a small group of farmers in Southern Africa to combat the problem, WRSA said: "While there is a huge empathy for the game farmers WRSA does not support this unilateral action.

"The means do not justify the end"

While the matter of rhino poaching has been given top priority by the authorities, steps to date, have not been totally effective, WRSA added.

"WRSA is committed to urgently facilitate a rethink with all key stakeholders, including the authorities, to devise initiatives that result in a concerted, bold and speedy breakthrough.

"WRSA believes the re-introduction of legal trade in rhino horn via the strictest controls and standards, overseen by the South African authorities, is key to the solution."

"WRSA believes the re-introduction of legal trade in rhino horn via the strictest controls and standards, overseen by the South African authorities, is key to the solution."

WRSA was established in 2005, "from the neccessity of governments desire to deal directly with a national body and no longer with provincial bodies representing the South African game or wildlife rancher," according to the WRSA website.

"WRSA as it currently stands is a relatively new organisation, however most of its policies have been carried over from the Northern Wildlife Organisation (NWO) and South African Game Ranchers Organization (SAGRO) before that, which had been running for almost 30 years," the organization adds.

"WRSA is a nonprofit organization currently representing 1,500 members of the registered 9,000 game ranches. WRSA's main function is to liaise closely between the game ranchers, non-governmental and governmental authorities to ensure a healthy working relationship, assisting govenmental authorities with the setting up of policies, regulations and norms and standards applicable to the wildlife industry."

Comments for Wildlife ranchers in South Africa call for controlled trade of rhino horn

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Aug 27, 2010
Rhino horn trade
by: Inge Skliros

While is sympathize with WRSA, I'm not sure that opening trade in rhino horn, even if strictly regulated, will actually work. Look what happened after some limited trade was allowed in ivory - poaching increased proportionally and elephants are once again endangered. I think the only way to stop poaching is to humanely and safely de-horn rhinos on a regular basis, destroy the horns and thereby eliminate the desire to kill rhinos for their horns. The won't have any!

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