Rhino horn ban lifted: South Africa Lifts Ban
Published: November 27, 2015
Rhino horn ban lifted: South Africa Lifts Ban, A South African judge on Thursday lifted a domestic ban on trade in rhino horns, in a direct challenge to government policy put in place in 2009 to try to stem rocketing poaching numbers.
The government gave no immediate reaction to the judge’s ruling, which was delivered in the Pretoria High Court after two South African game breeders fought a legal battle to overturn the moratorium.
The court decision came ahead of a meeting in Johannesburg next year of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which could lift the global ban.
South Africa’s rhino poaching epidemic saw a record 1,215 rhino killed last year for their horn, and some private rhino breeders say selling legally harvested horns could stifle the lucrative black market trade.
“The moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horns is hereby reviewed and set aside,” said the ruling from judge Francis Legodi.
The environment ministry said no decision had been made on whether to appeal.
“Our lawyer is now studying the judgement,” ministry spokesperson Roopa Singh told AFP.
John Hume and Johan Kruger, the two game breeders who launched the legal action, say it is their constitutional right to sell rhino horn — what they describe as a renewable resource.
“Hopefully this will bring about a change and lead the way to what happens in September next year at CITES,” said Izak du Toi, one of Hume’s lawyers.
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