Today, Wednesday August 23, began an auction that could aggravate the Rhinoceros situation in Africa : a distribution of 264 horns, nearly 500 kg !
As a reminder, rhinoceros horn trade is internationally banned by the CITES (international convention of species trade). However, this convention does not allow to intervene on internal decisions within a territory.
Thus, the South African breeder John Hume took advantage of this flaw to sell all of his rhinos horns stocked from his “breeding”. Indeed, he owns the biggest rhinoceros livestock in the world and, regularly, he sedated the animals to remove their horn “to provide poaching”, but mainly to be able to sell them one day such as he’s doing today.
This action is justified by the fact to “raise funds to finance the breeding and protection of rhinoceros”. But is it obvious that legalizing the internal trade is leading to illegality and to international trade, knowing that within the South African territory, the purchase of horns is almost non-existant. And it is not the translation of the auction website in Vietnamese and Chinese that makes us think the opposite.
This dubious action, seeming to target the interests of international buyers, endangers the species which may be more coveted for its horn.
We already mentioned this problem in the case of elephant tusks, which have the same attraction. Unfortunately, justice had the final word on August 20, in favor of the national trade. Although the environment minister, Edna Molewa, claims that “the ministry attaches a lot of importance monitoring the circulation of horns. For this reason, systems are in place so the monitoring is effective”, every reasons are good to worry about the fate of the species of illegality.
It looks obvious to me that to protect rhinoceros from poaching, the last thing to do is to show their horns still have a financial or any kind of value, other than being worn by the rhinoceros themselves. According to me, this act is taking advantage of a situation, hidden by a so-called benefactor motive. This auction is a sad decision and isn’t in any way the way to fight efficiently against illegality and the massacre of this animal. Lisa Rispal, EVI founder.
Four out of five rhinoceros species are critically endangered.
More than 1000 rhinoceros are killed each year only in South Africa, country which hosts about 80% of the rhinos population. One kilogram of horn is estimated between 45000 and 65000 euros on the black market. For comparison, ivory is 7000 dollars and cocaine from 20000 to 30000 dollars.
We regret this decision which seemed to wait patiently for the D day. As soon as today, John Hume will be able to sell his rhinos horn stock in auction online and nothing can guarantee that they are going to end up much further than the South African territory.