South Africa gets Green Light to Hunt Rhinos
An Animal Rights Article from


CITES Conference
October 04, 2004 12:56 PM
Posted Mon, 04 Oct 2004

Ed. Note: This report proves that even among those who are charged with protecting endangered species, the majority are motivated more by money and greed than by compassion.  It's important for compassionate people, everywhere, to expose the truth until public pressure forces an end to the cruelty and suffering.  To kill for pleasure and pride is one of the most evil things a human being can do; and those who support their actions, join them in their wickedness.

A global summit in Bangkok, Thailand tasked with regulating trade in endangered species on Monday permitted Namibia and South Africa to each kill five endangered black rhinos per year, a move conservationists warned could lead to wider abuse.

The move will allow wealthy hunters to kill the endangered rhinos and export them as trophies, such as stuffed animals and heads, which would be banned from being resold.

Both countries told the 13th Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) that only male black rhinos over 30 years old would be targeted, arguing that aging dominant males often prevented younger males from mating, leading to inbreeding and a population slowdown.

But wildlife groups including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the UK-based Born Free Foundation protested the move, warning that it set a dangerous precedent which paved the way for abuse by poachers.

"This says it's alright for a rich white hunter to shoot a rhino for a trophy but not for a local person to use it as a traditional dagger handle or medicine, and if the law seems unjust it is much harder to enforce," Born Free spokesman Ian Redmond told AFP.

"There are already too few rhinos in the wild. In the 1960s there was a population of 65 000 and now we're looking at 3000 or so black rhinos," he said.

Countries including the Central African Republic, Mali and Nepal had pushed both nations to consider exporting the animals instead of killing them, a move supported by activists such as Redmond.

"A better use of those so-called surplus animals would be to begin the recolonisation of former habitats," he said.

The WWF also raised concerns about how money earned from the hunting of South Africa's black rhinos would be spent.

"We are not convinced the money generated from the potential income will benefit local communities," the WWF said in a statement released after the decision.

Black rhino numbers fell by up to 90 percent during the 1970s and 1980s according to the WWF, which puts the current African population at about 3600.

The catastrophic decline was caused almost solely by demand for their horns in Middle Eastern and Asian markets, according to the group.

Namibia's quota was raised from 100 to 250 leopards a year, while South Africa's was doubled to 150.

Both nations also had trophy hunting quotas lifted for leopards, which wildlife groups said was a lesser concern because of their abundant numbers.

Some 1500 delegates have gathered in the Thai capital to debate 50 changes to the global treaty, including limits on trade in species such as the great white shark, the Irawaddy dolphin, and African and Asian elephants.

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