If the SA government decides later this month to lift the global ban on trading in rhino horn it could potentially make up to R29 billion by selling its stockpile. International trade in rhino horn was banned in 1977 and SA has since piled up an estimated 30 tons which has value of $2 billion on Asian markets. Experts in favour of legalizing the trade have noted that the ban is simply not working. Rhinos are still being killed at alarming rates and lifting the ban would ideally allow the control of supply, theoretically dropping the value of the horn and making it less attractive to poachers.
It’s not so simple though since many have pointed out that lifting the ban would create it’s own problems like what happens when the stockpile runs out or if cartels buy up all the horn and then control the supply themselves driving up demand and inflating prices.
“But opponents of that ban say that a properly monitored legal trade could help save rhinos, rather than condemn them to extinction.
The stakes are high. The government has not revealed the size of its rhino horn stockpile but the Private Rhino Owners’ Association estimates its members have around 6t and reckons the state has close to 25t.” [TimesLIVE]
R29 billion would go a long way for rhino conservation. Assuming the government can manage to get it with corruption and what not.
[pic via Henrik Groth-Andersen]