Wild Rhino Photo Credit: Graeme Mitchley

For years many international organizations have worked tirelessly in Vietnam and China to discourage the use of Rhino horn. They have invested time, energy and millions of dollars in their educational programs… writes MEGAN CARR.

Wild Rhino Photo Credit: Graeme Mitchley

“In one foul greedy swoop rhino farmer John Hume and the PROA group with the assistance of the South African Department of Environmental Affairs have undermined all the excellent demand reduction work carried out to date.

“The much publicized rhino horn auction today is advertised directly to the Vietnamese and Chinese markets in their own languages. We all know that Hume and his colleagues are driven by greed and money, his rhino horn factory in Klerksdorp has little to do with the conservation of a species.

“We all know that you cannot allow the legal trade in rhino horn and run demand reduction campaigns simultaneously.

“The inept South African government is completely to blame for this disaster. Their domestic trade moratorium was denounced because they did not adhere to certain legalities. Instead of reinstating the moratorium correctly Environmental Minister Edna Molewa drafted her own set of domestic trade regulations which also include the words “personal use”.

“One has to bear in mind the fact that the South African government has a sizable state owned rhino horn stockpile. Unfortunately this government has a very bad reputation as far as corruption is concerned. We therefore have to question the motives behind the reinstatement of the domestic horn regulations. Similarly, curiously, we know there is no market for rhino horn consumption in South Africa.

“Their half hearted legal attempt to stop Hume’s rhino horn auction is highly questionable. The High Court judge himself was confused by their urgent application on Sunday.

“Will we now witness rhino horn leaving South Africa with permits issued by the DEA to enter both China and Vietnam legally for personal use?

“Since the discussion of the legalization of the domestic trade in rhino horn, and with the necessary loopholes in place to possibly export the horn, we have seen a sudden escalation of poached rhino. No matter how Molewa tries to manipulate the poached rhino figures.

“The South African government has effectively given the green light to poachers to kill rhino for their horn as it will be so much easier to sell and trade. We will see more raids and murders committed where rhino horn is known to be stored. Awaiting court arrested poaching kingpins are rubbing their hands in glee.

“The South African government has effectively put so many innocent lives at risk not to mention the possibility of extermination of an entire species.”

BY Megan Carr, VP Social Media, Global March for Elephants and Rhino